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What are the appropriate liturgical vestments for deacons?

The deacon's stole is worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm. The scapular is a stole appropriate to both lay and clergy. Deacons may wear the alb or the academic robe. The alb is appropriate for all clergy and lay and for all worship services in all seasons. Read more here


What are deacons’ rights in “getting fired” by churches?

A church may not dismiss a deacon without prior consultation between the deacon and the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, nor without full knowledge of the district superintendent and bishop (¶ 331.10.e). It follows that a church ought not to change the job descriptions, covenants, compensation, total hours of the deacon without prior consultation with the deacon and with the district superintendent. Dismissal can be recommended by the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, but an appointment change can be carried out only by the bishop and the bishop’s cabinet (¶ 258.2.g.11). If the SPRC plans to discuss continued appointment of the deacon, the SPRC must inform the deacon in advance (¶ 258.2.e). The deacon shall be given a minimum of 90 days’ notice before final termination (¶ 331.10.e). (Paragraph references are from the 2012 Book of Discipline.)

What are deacons' tax obligations?

Deacons are clergy and, in the United States, can file taxes as clergy--but U.S. government legislators, not the church, make the tax rules and the Internal Revenue Service implement the rules. Learn more about taxes and ordained deacons on this General Council on Finance and Administration tax packet site.

In what settings might deacons serve?

A deacon is appointed by the bishop to ministry in a local congregation (where about 80 percent serve) or in a church-related, faith-based, or secular setting. Since the Order of Deacons was created in 1996, ordained deacons have carried the church outside its traditional walls to minister to the homeless, work with labor unions, in health care, and more. Deacons have founded non-traditional ministries, too. Other service possibilities include musical, editorial and writing, educational, age-group, artistic, mission-based and other posts.

How does a deacon find a job within The United Methodist Church?

Like the elder, the deacon is appointed to a post by a bishop. However, unlike an elder, a deacon is non-itinerant. His or her appointment may be initiated by the deacon, an agency seeking his or her service, the bishop, or the district superintendent. The Division of Ordained Ministry offers a Web page on which United Methodist churches, related church agencies, and United Methodist colleges and universities may post available ministry positions.

What are the educational requirements to be a deacon?

A deacon may choose from four educational routes: bachelor’s or equivalent degree and a Master of Divinity or equivalent degree; bachelor’s degree and master’s from an approved school of theology or seminary; bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in area of specialization and basic graduate theological studies; or bachelor’s degree,professional certification, and basic graduate theological studies (candidates older than 35).

What is the process for becoming a United Methodist deacon?

The first step is consulting with a pastor or deacon and studying appropriate materials to further discern the call. That is followed by further consultation with the congregation’s parish staff/parish relations committee and district superintendent, the help of a mentor, and certification by the district committee on ordained ministry. The candidate must then be recommended to and approved by the conference Board of Ordained Ministry. After educational requirements are complete and approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry, a candidate is commissioned and serves a three-year probationary period, which is considered a trial period leading to full membership in the annual conference.  

What is the "call" to ministry as a deacon?

“Call” is God’s invitation to use God-given gifts and talents to minister in the church and in the world. A deacon is called to serve all people, particularly the poor, the sick, and the oppressed, and to equip and lead the laity in ministries of compassion, justice, and service in the world. The deacon’s leadership role exemplifies Christian discipleship, creates opportunities for others to enter into discipleship, and connects the church’s worship with its service in the world. Help in determining God’s call and specific resources are available at

Read the full FAQ about Deacons

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