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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Publication details for Dr Andrew Orton

Stockdale, Todd & Orton, Andrew (2013). The Contemporary Nature of Diaconal Ministry in British Methodism: Purposes and Processes of Good Practice. Theology and Ministry 2(2013): 4.1-19.

Author(s) from Durham


This article highlights key findings emerging from a two-year project focusing on the contemporary nature of diaconal ministry in the Methodist Church in Britain, drawing on the practices and perspectives of deacons in this denomination. Within this research, ‘building bridges’ and ‘forming connections’ emerged as central aims within deacons’ accounts of their own ministry, both within and between churches and wider communities. Understanding the processes by which these aims were achieved was an essential part of understanding this ministry. In exploring how deacons seek to form connections and build bridges, key themes of ‘presence’, ‘service’, ‘discernment’ and ‘witness’ are explored. However, deacons did not just seek to make these connections themselves; they also sought to enable, encourage & equip others to be involved in diaconal ministry. Through exploring these deacons’ understandings within their own narratives, the article demonstrates the potential for the wider Church to learn from the way ministry and mission are interconnected in their practice.


© Theology and Ministry Journal, St. John's College, Durham University