Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meeting with MDO in London, June 2016

It was a delight to meet in London with Deacon Karen McBride (currently Deputy Warden MDO and incoming Warden MDO in September) and Deacon Richard Clutterbuck (incoming Deputy Warden MDO in September). The MDO office is in central London, part of Methodist House.

Karen gave me a copy of a well-researched history of diaconal ministry in the Methodist Church - I'll enjoy dipping into it. Karen also gave a copy of the recent publication prepared to help congregations better understand diaconal ministry - it's a really helpful resource.

Deacon Karen McBride, Rev (Deacon) Sandy Boyce, Deacon Richard Clutterbuck
The MDO is a religious Order and an order of ministry with the Methodist Church. The Methodist Church has two orders of ministry: presbyteral and diaconal. The two orders are equal in status yet with certain difference in focus, style and character.

In the Methodist Church, deacons are ordained:
* to assist God's people in prayer and worship;
* to hold before them the needs and concerns of the world;
* to minister Christ's love and compassion;
* to visit and support the sick and the suffering;
* to seek out the lost and the lonely;
* to help those served to offer their lives to God.

A deacon's main focus is to take care of the community's needs and to help God's people make the most of their faith in every day life, through:  

Taking as their model the way that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, deacons help people to understand the nature of God's love and healing through acts of loving kindness. They encourage people to realise that by serving others in God's name, they also encounter and are served by God.
Free from responsibility for pastoral charge of churches, deacons are able to work at grassroots, alongside people within and beyond the Church community and to offer a prophetic voice from the margins.

Deacons seek to connect faith with life in today's world in such a way that people are encouraged to articulate their experience and deal with the practical problems they encounter. They draw attention to and help interpret God's activity in the world and daily life.

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