'Discernment Events' Planned to Assist Laity in Finding God's Will for Their Lives

January 24, 2007

New York, New York, January 19, 2007—To “discern” means to recognize or identify. United Methodist young laity—women and men—seeking to discern God’s will for their lives will have that opportunity in late April, 2007.

A Young Adult Deaconess and Home Missioner Discernment Event, open to persons aged 20 to 39 living in the United States, will take place in New York City on April 27-29. Regional events are tentatively scheduled for later in the year (see below).

Space is limited for the New York event and the deadline for application is March 9. All costs, including travel within the US, lodging, and meals, will be covered by the event sponsor -- the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of The United Methodist Church.

The discernment event will include Bible study, worship, conversation, reflection, and information on the deaconess and home mission relationship to the Church. It will be held at Alma Mathews House, a facility of the Women’s Division of the mission board.

Applicants will be notified if they are accepted by March 26. The application form can be found at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/media/mpdocs/deaconessapp042007.doc.

Deaconesses, who are laywomen, and Home Missioners, who are laymen, are called by God to a full-time vocation in service with those who are marginalized and in need in the world today. This community of laity has responded to the call of God in their lives and has been commissioned by The United Methodist Church to full-time ministries of love, justice, and service.

The Office of Deaconess was established in 1888 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and provides laywomen the opportunity to serve in a life-time lay relationship in servant ministry.  The Office of Home Missioner was established at the 2004 United Methodist General Conference providing laymen with an opportunity to serve in a life-time relationship to the Church.  This is the first opportunity for laymen to be in an official life-time relationship in ministry since the termination of Diaconal Minister by the 1996 General Conference.

The tentative schedule for the regional events follows:

Planned Dates                          Jurisdiction                               Locations

June 8-10, 2007                       Southeastern Jurisdiction           Location to be determined
September 21- 23, 2007          North Central Jurisdiction         Location to be determined
November 9-11, 2007             South Central Jurisdiction          Location to be determined
December 14- 16, 2007           Western Jurisdiction                  Location to be determined

For more information on the April event or the regional events, or to express interest in becoming a deaconess or home missioner, contact Becky Louter at blouter@gbgm-umc.org or 212-870-3850.

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.