Discipline ¶331

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  ¶  331. Appointment of Deacons in Full Connection to Various Ministries-1. Deacons in full connection may be appointed to serve as their primary field of service:
a) Through agencies and settings beyond the local church that extend the witness and service of Christ’s love and justice in the world by equipping all Christians to fulfill their own calls to Christian service; or
    b) Through United Methodist Church-related agencies, schools, colleges, theological schools, ecumenical agencies; or
c) Within a local congregation, charge, or cooperative parish or within the connectional structures of The United Methodist Church.
  2. Deacons in full connection may be appointed to attend school as part of their renewal and personal growth.
3. Deacons in settings that extend the witness and service of Christ’s love and justice in the world are amenable to the annual conference of which they are members and insofar as possible should maintain close working relationship with and effective participation in the work of their annual conference, assuming whatever responsibilities they are qualified and requested to assume.
Deacons under appointment beyond the local church shall submit annually to the bishop and the district superintendent, with a copy to their board of ordained ministry, a written report on the official form developed for the Church by the General Council on Finance and Administration for use by the annual conference.
This report shall include a copy of the evaluation by the institution in which the deacon serves. The report and evaluation shall serve as the basis for the evaluation of these deacons in light of the missional needs of the church and the fulfillment of their ordination to be minister of Word and Service. Deacons serving in appointments outside the conference in which they hold membership shall also furnish a copy of their report to the bishop of the area in which they reside and work.  
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Ordained Ministry, in order to assist the boards of ordained ministry and cabinets, will provide guidelines to validate the appropriateness in service beyond the local church in special settings and will be available for consultation with bishops and cabinets.
4. When deacons in full connection serve in an agency or setting beyond the local church, the bishop, after consultation with the deacon and the pastor in charge, shall appoint the deacon to a local congregation where they will take missional responsibility for leading other Christians into ministries of service. In this ministry the deacons shall be accountable to the pastor in charge, the charge conference, and other bodies that coordinate the ministry of the local church. In those instances where the appointment is in another episcopal area, the appointment to a local church shall be made in consultation with the bishop of that area.
5. This appointment shall be in a setting that allows one to fulfill the call to specialized ministry and where supervision is provided with goals, evaluation, and accountability acceptable to the bishop, cabinet, and the board of ordained ministry.
6. The appointment of deacons in full connection shall be made by the bishop.
    a) It may be initiated by the bishop or the district superintendent, individual deacon in full connection, or the agency seeking their service.
b) It shall be clarified by a written statement of intentionality of servant leadership in order to establish a clear distinction between the work to which all Christians are called and the work for which deacons in full connection are appropriately prepared and authorized.
c) If the bishop and cabinet consider an appointment not to be in the best interest of the Church, the bishop may choose not to make the appointment. In such event, the bishop shall be in consultation with the deacon and the board of ordained ministry. The deacon in full connection shall then seek another appointment, request a leave of absence, transitional leave, or relinquish his or her certification of conference membership for deposit with the conference secretary, or be terminated by disciplinary procedures.
d) Deacons in full connection at their request or with their consent may be appointed to a nonsalaried position. Such missional appointments will serve to express the Church’s concern for social holiness, for ministry among the poor, and for advancing emerging needs of the future. In such cases, the bishop will carefully review plans for expressing this appointed ministry and will consult with the deacon about the well-being and financial security of his or her family.
  7. At the request of the deacon in full connection and with the consent of the bishop and cabinet where conference membership is held, the deacon may receive a less than full-time appointment under the following conditions:
    a) The deacon in full connection shall present a written request to the bishop and the conference board of ordained ministry, giving a rationale for the request at least ninety days prior to the annual conference at which the appointment is to be made.
b) Reappointment to less than full-time service shall be requested annually of the bishop by the deacon in full connection.
c) The bishop may make an interim appointment of less than full-time service upon request of a deacon in full connection, with the recommendation of the executive committee of the conference board of ordained ministry.
  8. With approval and consent of the bishops or other judicatory authorities involved, deacons in full connection from other annual conferences, other Methodist churches, or other denominations may receive appointments in the annual conference while retaining their home conference membership or denominational affiliation. Appointments are to be made by the bishop of the conference in which the deacon in full connection is to serve. Upon the recommendation of the board of ordained ministry, clergy in such appointments may be granted voice but not vote in the annual conference to which they are appointed. Their membership on conference boards and agencies is restricted to the conference of which they are a member. Such appointments are renewable annually.
9. Deacons in full connection with the approval of their bishop and the judicatory authorities of the other denomination may receive an appointment to another denomination while retaining their home conference membership. The appointment may be made in response to exceptional missional needs.
10. Deacons in full connection who are serving outside the bounds of their annual conference will receive an appointment to a local congregation in the area in which their primary appointment is located. This arrangement will be made in consultation between the two bishops. The deacons will be under the supervision of an appropriate district superintendent who will provide a written report to the deacon’s bishop.
11. Ordained deacons, after consultation and with the written consent of the pastor in charge, and with the approval of the district superintendent and in consultation with the staff-parish relations committee of a charge conference, shall relate to a charge conference within the bounds of the annual conference in which they shall hold membership and to which they shall submit an annual report. In those instances where the appointment is in another annual conference the deacon will relate also to a charge conference where he or she resides. The deacons shall be held amenable to the annual conference in which they hold membership for the continuation of their ordination rights.
12. Ordained deacons from other annual conferences of the United Methodist Church may be received by transfer into full membership with the consent of the bishops involved. The process should be initiated by the receiving bishop. Consultation with the chairperson or executive committee of the board of ordained ministry of the receiving conference shall be held prior to transfer.
13. Special provisions will be made for deacons whose primary appointment does not have accountability structures, but whose charge conference will supply this need.
14. Support for deacons under appointment of a bishop.
    a) Deacons shall receive their support under the policies and agreements of the setting of their primary field of service.
b) When the deacon’s primary field of service is within a local congregation, charge, or cooperative parish, the deacon shall receive a salary from the local church, charge, or cooperative parish (¶ 624.2) not less than the minimum established by the equitable compensation policy of the annual conference for full-time and part-time pastors and shall participate in the denominational pension and benefit plans, programs, and in the health benefit and supplemental programs of his or her annual conference subject to the provisions and standards of those programs as established by the annual conference where health coverage is not provided from another source.
c) The above (§ 14 [a-b]) does not apply to a deacon appointed by a bishop to a nonsalaried position (§ 6 [d]).
d) In The United Methodist Church and other employing agencies there shall be an annual review of the deacon’s performance no later than ninety days prior to annual conference.
e) Since deacons are not guaranteed a place of employment in the Church, special attention shall be given to termination procedures that allow time for seeking another service appointment. Notification of dismissal shall provide a ninety-day period to final termination of employment unless the contract specifies otherwise or except for causes as listed in ¶ 2702.