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GBHEM Reorganizes Its Deacon Support

February 14, 2019

Deacons and diaconal ministers will receive support in new ways from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), The United Methodist Church’s leadership development agency.

Due to the projected reduction in denominational funding from 2021 through 2025, GBHEM is not staffing the position of Director of Deacon Ministry Support for the foreseeable future. However, the agency’s Division of Ordained Ministry (DOM) will continue to support deacons (and annual conference entities that credential, appoint and advise deacons) with the expertise and commitment of all DOM staff members.

“Deacons provide important leadership in our communities and churches by nurturing disciples and guiding the church into ministry to the world,” said the Rev. Greg Bergquist, DOM’s associate general secretary. “Our staff has great appreciation for deacons and diaconal ministers, and we remain committed to promoting, forming, and supporting their leadership.”

The GBHEM staff includes three deacons, the Revs. Meg Lassiat, Victoria Rebeck and Kathryn Armistead, who remain available to provide technical expertise related to deacon ministry. DOM also plans to create a network of experienced deacons throughout the connection who will work with DOM as advisers and advocates.

The Rev. Shannon Conklin-Miller, assistant general secretary for theological education and leadership formation, will oversee support for the order of deacons, order of elders and the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members.

The Rev. Victoria Rebeck, who had served in the position of director of deacon support, certification programs and provisional membership development from April 2013 to October 2018, transitioned to GBHEM’s office of marketing and communications. She has extensive experience in magazine publishing, book editing and annual conference communications.

For assistance with questions related to deacon ministry, send a message to

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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