Discipline ¶1313

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Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner
¶  1313. General Provisions-1. There shall be in The United Methodist Church the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner. The purpose of the office of deaconess and home missioner shall be to express representatively the love and concern of the believing community for the needs in the world and to enable, through education and involvement, the full ministry and mission of the people of God. Deaconesses and home missioners function through diverse forms of service directed toward the world to make Jesus Christ known in the fullness of his ministry and mission, which mandate that his followers:
    a) Alleviate suffering;
b) Eradicate causes of injustice and all that robs life of dignity and worth;
c) Facilitate the development of full human potential; and
d) Share in building global community through the church universal.
  2. Deaconesses, who are lay women, and home missioners, who are lay men, are professionally trained persons who have been led by the Holy Spirit to devote their lives to Christlike service under the authority of the Church. They are approved by the General Board of Global Ministries and commissioned by a bishop at a session of the board or at a setting approved by the board. They shall have a continuing relationship to The United Methodist Church through the General Board of Global Ministries.
Deaconesses and home missioners are available for service with any agency or program of The United Methodist Church. Deaconesses and home missioners may also serve in other than United Methodist Church agencies or programs, provided that approval be given by the board in consultation with the bishop of the receiving area.
3. Full-time service is the norm for the ministry of a deaconess or home missioner, meaning that the person’s entire vocational time is devoted to work of ministry in the field of labor to which one is appointed by the bishop.
    a) The program office shall process appointments for deaconesses and home missioners in consultation with the bishop of the area, in accordance with the policies and procedures of the General Board of Global Ministries.
    b) The appointment shall be fixed by the bishop (¶ 415.7) at the session of annual conference and printed in the list of appointments in the annual conference journal.
c) The annual conference secretary shall:
    (1) Keep a record of all persons in the annual conference who have been commissioned to the office of deaconess or home missioner.
(2) Publish annually in the annual conference journal the list of appointments of deaconesses and home missioners.
  4. A deaconess or home missioner shall hold church membership in a local church within the conference where her/his appointment is located and shall be a voting member of the charge conference of that church. Those holding staff positions with a general board or connectional agency of The United Methodist Church may hold church membership in an annual conference within reasonable distance of the headquarters of the board or agency served. A deaconess or home missioner whose appointment is located outside the boundaries of an annual conference may hold her or his church membership in a local church in her or his home conference or in the local church in the annual conference in which she or he last held her or his church membership.
5. Deaconesses and home missioners shall be seated at the sessions of the annual conference with voice and vote.
6. A deaconess or home missioner shall be a member of the annual conference in accordance with ¶¶ 32 and 602.4.
7. Deaconesses and home missioners shall be subject to the administrative authority of the program or agency to which they are appointed. In matters of their assignment they are subject to the authority of the General Board of Global Ministries and may not contract for service that would nullify this authority.
8. Each deaconess or home missioner shall enroll in a pension plan. The rights of any deaconess or home missioner in any prior or existing agreement or pension plan shall be fully protected.
9. A leave of absence may be requested. It shall be granted for reasons of health, family responsibilities, or vocational re-assessment, or for lack of employment in a helping profession or church-related vocation. Approval of leave of absence shall be given annually. Such leave shall normally not exceed five years. Exceptional circumstances requiring an extended leave shall be handled in consultation with the Personnel Services Team of the Mission Personnel Program Area of the General Board of Global Ministries.
10. Involuntary termination for a deaconess or home missioner shall follow the procedural guidelines as set forth in ¶ 2702.