Bridging the Church and the World
Thursday, March 27, 2014
In the United Methodist Church there are two distinct orders of ordained ministry, the ministry of the Elder and the ministry of the Deacon. While the ministry of the ordained Elder, who typically serves as the pastor of a local church, is most familiar, the ministry of the ordained Deacon remains somewhat confusing and even mysterious to many. Deacons are ordained to word, service, compassion and justice and most frequently have specialized skills for the areas of ministry to which they are called. They may carry out their service in ministry primarily in a local church or in a community setting always providing way to connect the two through bridge building.
The Deacon Day @ Drew: Bridging the Church and the World is a day to focus on the call and the ministry of the ordained Deacon in the UMC. We will be blessed to have on campus throughout the day the Rev. Victoria Rebeck, Director of Deacon Support, Provisional Program and Certifications Studies at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. In addition to being the guest preacher for the Chapel Service she will model the liturgical partnership of the deacon and the elder representing the servant and priestly ministries of Christ during worship and at the Table of our Lord.
Following Chapel there will be a ‘Chat & Chew’ luncheon. Drew Theological School alumni and local deacons will participate in a panel discussion, facilitated by Rev. Rebeck, on the various ways deacons serve as bridges between the church and the world in their settings. Throughout the afternoon Rev. Rebeck, Rev. Susan Worrell, Deacon Liaison at Drew, and Rev. Brenda Ehlers, Chair of the Order of Deacons of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference will be available to dialogue with students and area deacons about the candidacy and ordination process, certification studies, provisional program, appointment making, financial issues, local church connections, and any other concerns facing deacons in the UMC today. In the late afternoon a casual time for tea, snacks, and conversation with Revs. Rebeck, Worrell, and Ehlers will be held for the commuting students and those attending evening classes.
As the Deacon Day @ Drew: Bridging the Church and the World approaches the Drew students pursuing ordination as Deacons in the UMC will be active in a ministry of service by collecting non-perishable foodstuffs for the local food bank. Containers marked accordingly are positioned throughout Seminary Hall. Please be generous as the need is great!
Please plan to attend as many of the day’s event as you can. Bring your questions, comments and insights about this distinct clergy order with you. Gaining a greater understanding of the ministry of the ordained Deacon is necessary for Elders and laity alike as together, in partnership ministry, the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is fulfilled.
11:20-Noon – Worship Service – Craig Chapel
Noon – 1:10pm – Panel Discussion & Buffet Lunch – Seminary Hall, Room 101
1:30 – 3:00pm - Dialogue with Revs. Victoria Rebeck, Susan Worrell, and Brenda Ehlers – Ehinger Center, Room 109
3:30 – 5:00pm - Tea and Conversation – Seminary Hall, Room 101
The Rev. Susan L. Worrell, MS, CADC, LPC is a an Ordained Deacon and an Endorsed Mental Health and Substance Abuse Chaplain in the United Methodist Church, as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with 28 years of experience in the mental health and addictions fields. She is the founder and director of Hope Christian Counseling, a non-profit counseling ministry with offices in West Chester and Kennett Square, PA. In addition, she serves on the pastoral staff at the UM Church of the Open Door in Kennett Square. Rev. Worrell is adept in blending a person’s need for spiritual guidance with mental health counseling support. As an ordained Deacon in the UMC she provides leadership in the Eastern PA Conference as the Chair of the Order of Deacons and serves as the Deacon Liaison for Drew Theological School in Madison, NJ. As a counselor, speaker, teacher, mentor, and clergyperson, Rev. Worrell is committed to a ministry of healing and wholeness for all – mentally, physically, spiritually, and relationally.
Rev. Victoria Rebeck is director of deacon support, provisional membership, and certification programs for the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. She is a United Methodist deacon whose ministry specialties are communication and leadership development. Previously, she was the director of communication for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, editor of the 2000 Book of Discipline and of Newscope, associate editor of The Christian Century and managing editor of The Christian Ministry magazines. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She is a certified communications trainer through United Methodist Communications.
Gary Frieze is a graduate of the Rutgers College of Pharmacy class of 1980 and has been registered as a NJ Pharmacist since August 1980. He works at the InterCounty Council of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Kearny NJ as Pharmacist and Pastoral caregiver. His duties include compounding the methadone solution and dosing the patients daily. He also is available to talk to the patients when they have issues such as prayers for illness or recent deaths in their families, and leads groups for the patients such as the spirituality group and medical issues. He is also the pastor for recovery ministries at Wesley UMC of Belleville, NJ, where he assists during services by leading the pastoral prayer and benediction. He also occasionally peaches and provides pastoral care to those suffering from addiction. He graduated with a MDiv from Drew Theological School in 2003 and was ordained in June 2012.
Jestie Higgins is a native of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, Jestie earned her BA in Religion from Lycoming College in 2008, after which she enrolled in Drew University’s part-time, non-degree, Camp and Retreat Certification program. A 2012 graduate of Drew Theological School, Jestie has her Master of the Arts in Ministry with concentrations in Camp and Retreat Ministries and Ecological Theology. After working at United Methodists camps all up and down the eastern United States, Jestie has settled in North Jersey where she serves as the Director of Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center. Jestie lives with her feline friends in Newton, NJ where she happily spends her time running camp, crafting, sailing on gorgeous Swartswood Lake, and pinching herself just to make sure she’s not dreaming.
Rev. Susan Victor is a licensed clinical social worker and a deacon in the United Methodist Church. She is appointed to serve full-time as chaplain and Director of Counseling and Support Services at Womanspace, Inc. Womanspace is a non-profit agency that serves individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault in Mercer County. Her secondary appointment is to Princeton United Methodist Church where she assists with worship on Sundays.
Rev. Margaret Ann Crain, respected author of A Deacon’s Heart, has recently released The United Methodist Deacon: Ordained to Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice (Abingdon, 2014).
“I think one of the answers for this shrinking denomination [the United Methodist Church] is more deacons,” says Crain, professor of Christian education at Garrett-Evangelical Theological School. “Deacons serve in that space between church and world. When they are based in the institutional church, they help turn United Methodists’ faces toward the world and their mission there. When deacons are based in the world, they represent the church in that place, doing ministry on our behalf. Their work is focused on the convincing the world of the reality of the gospel. When they succeed, the United Methodist Church is stronger and more vital.”
The new volume describes the clergy deacon’s calling, relationships, missional ministry, and role as an ordained clergyperson. It also clarifies common concerns related to appointment, compensation, and benefits.
“Every elder as well as deacon should have a copy in order to help people discern a call to the deacon, to know how to best deploy the gifts of a deacon, and the insure the rights as well as the responsibilities of a deacon,” Bishop Sally Dyck states as printed on the book’s cover.
“Margaret Ann Crain deftly brings together Bible, church history, and legislative initiatives with the stories of real people to help us see the gift and the opportunity we have to be more robust in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” observes Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer, also in a cover quote.
The cover price of the book is $16.99. It can be purchased for $10 per copy (plus shipping; free shipping for bulk orders of 10 or more) from the Office of Deacon Ministry of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Send a request for an order form to firstname.lastname@example.org.