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This paper was presented at a small, September 2014 conference in Nashville, Tennessee sponsored by the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner of the United Methodist Church. It will also be posted to the website of the United Methodist Women.

This paper draws upon a revised interpretation of diakon- terms in the New Testament provided by John N. Collins. It examines how the stories of the choosing of the seven (Acts 6:1-7), Stephen’s speech (Acts 6:8 – 7:56), and the evangelistic ministry of Phillip (Acts 8:4-40) together provide a fresh impetus for understanding expressions of the United Methodist diaconate today - in both its lay and ordained expressions. It is suggested that these stories offer fertile ground for crafting a “rule” for the United Methodist diaconate as a missionary Order.

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