Friday, 13 May 2011

Making Connections: Exploring Contemporary Diaconal Ministry

Painting of a Russian Orthodox deacon leading ...Image via Wikipedia
The following press release has recently crossed my desk:

A major international, ecumenical conference, Making Connections, on diaconal ministry in the contemporary church is being held at St. John’s College in Durham on 8th and 9th September this year.

The conference will explore the remarkable re-emergence and growth of diaconal ministries across many church denominations, and their implications for the Church and its relationship with wider society.

Speakers include Dr Paula Gooder, Dr John N Collins, Revd Dr Maurice Staton, Revd Canon Kathryn Fitzsimons, Revd Canon Prof Paul Avis, Dr Andrew Orton and Deacon Eunice Attwood. Participants will be able to choose from a wide range of presentations and interactive workshops. They will consider themes such as the diverse range of Biblical, historical and denominational understandings of diaconal ministry; the relationships between different ministries; and what can be learnt from contemporary diaconal practice.

The conference will also include a presentation and discussion of emerging findings from a major two-year research project exploring ‘Good Practice in Diaconal Ministry in the Methodist Church of Great Britain’. The research is being led by Andrew Orton, based at the Wesley Study Centre in Durham, and has been funded by the Methodist Church of Great Britain. The participatory methods used in the project included working alongside deacons in the Methodist Diaconal Order to critically explore their understandings of diaconal ministry.

The conference is already attracting significant interest amongst deacons, church leaders, academics, those involved in training deacons, lay workers, church members and those with whom deacons work. Participation is welcome by anyone who is interested in critically exploring the renewed interest in this ministry and its potential contribution to the wider church and society.

The conference has been jointly sponsored by the Methodist Church, Wesley Study Centre, Durham and the Methodist Diaconal Order, which means it will be available at a subsidised cost of £29 per participant including lunch and refreshments. (Any accommodation or evening meals required will be extra). More details and booking forms are available from: Wesley Study Centre, 3 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3RJ Tel: 0191 334 3850, Email or from the Wesley Study Centre website.
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