Please note that this post is also a permanent page and so will remain in the ‘Pages’ column (right hand side of the screen) until booking closes next May.

With many thanks to Deacon Gill Newman (London) who is handling the bookings.



“A magnificent conference!” “Wonderful!”

“Congratulations on a very good day.”

“An incredible success.”

“Fantastic day, I really feel excited about the future!”

“An excellent gathering – inspiring!”

Just some of the comments following our 2018 conference! Building on this success, booking is now open for the second National Conference of Distinctive Deacons in the Church of England, ‘Deacons on the Move 2020’.

We are particularly delighted that our speaker is the Rt Rev Dr Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Bishop Martin is Chair of the Church of England Ministry Council and his theme will be, ‘Towards a Flourishing Diaconate: Theological, Pastoral and Formational Perspectives’.

Bishop Martin brings a wealth of vocational experience with him. He is addressing all the major elements of the diaconate and promises to be stimulating, challenging and exciting!

The day will include opportunities to hear from and be inspired by

  • the work and ministry of other Distinctive Deacons
  • meeting other Distinctive Deacons and discovering who else is working in your region
  • considering the setting up of regional groups
  • hearing about launch plans for an exciting new national network for Distinctive Deacons
  • sharing in worship together.

Anyone staying overnight on the previous evening, Friday May 15th, is also welcome to meet up for an evening meal at a local restaurant and join in with a service of Compline with Queens’ students.

This conference is a unique opportunity for Distinctive Deacons in the UK and beyond, many of whom work in isolation, to come together for fellowship, teaching and encouragement in the rich vocation to which they have been called. Others interested in learning more about the distinctive diaconate, including those exploring a possible calling of their own, are also most welcome to attend. Deacons, deacon ordinands, deacon enquirers, vocations advisers and DDOs are all invited.

The conference is being held on Saturday May 16th 2020 in the Frances Young Centre at The Queen’s Foundation, Edgbaston, Birmingham. It is easily accessible by public transport and has good parking. Further details about the venue along with travel directions can be found on their website at For details about accommodation see FAQ below.

With little or no diaconal training generally available to distinctive deacons at a diocesan level, one of the aims of this conference is to help equip deacons in their ministry. Delegates are therefore encouraged to talk to their Dioceses about claiming the conference costs from Ministerial Training budgets. Unlimited tea and coffee, freshly baked cakes and biscuits, and a hot lunch are included in the ticket price.

*If you have any special dietary requirements please let us know in advance by emailing

**A small number of bursaries may be available to help with the cost of the conference – please contact the organisers for further information.


Q. How can I contact the organisers?

A. You can contact the organisers by emailing

Q. I want to stay overnight – can you recommend any accommodation?

A. There are a number of options if you require overnight accommodation:

  • A very limited number of non ensuite rooms are available at the Queens Foundation from £15-20. Breakfast is an additional £3.50. Please book directly with Queen’s at
  • The Lucas House Hotel offers comfortable, low cost B & B just 5 minutes walk away from the Frances Young Centre. Please book directly.
  • The International Mission Centre also offers excellent rates for B & B and is about 10-15 minutes drive away from the Francis Young Centre. Please book directly. 
  • Q. I would like to meet up with others for a meal the previous evening, Friday May 15th – how can I book?

A. Please email the organisers at and we will send you details.

Q. Can I get a refund if I book and then discover nearer the time that I can’t attend?

A. Unfortunately tickets cannot be refunded once purchased. Please contact the organisers if you find yourself in this situation.

Q. Where can I discover more about the Distinctive Diaconate?

A. A wealth of useful information and articles about the Distinctive Diaconate can be found on the blog ‘Deacon’

DIACONALLY-FOCUSED TRAINING: a message from the Principal of Queen’s Foundation

When we had our national conference in Birmingham in October, the Principal of Queens Foundation, Dr David Hewlett, attended the whole conference and announced that he’s planning to include some courses especially with deacons in mind.
Dr David Hewlett
He already has three deacons on his staff, two Methodist and one Anglican:  and the college trains Methodist deacons as well as offering general ministerial training for Anglicans and others.
Given that the vast majority of deacons get little or no diaconally-focused training, this is a real gift to the diaconate.
Image result for gift
I asked David if he would set down for us what he has in mind, as follows.
I encourage you to print this off and either send or take what he’s offering to your diocesan training providers, and ask them for their response.  Would they, for instance, consider sending a diaconal ordinand to Queen’s for the IME course (number 3) on diaconal identity etc?  (It will of course come down to money, but there may be different financial pockets available to cover the cost.)
Please let me know your thoughts, either in the comments section or through the deacon email and I’ll relay them to David for his consideration.
From David: 
What Queen’s can offer
Our experience of working with other groups in ministry is that the opportunity to gather and learn from and with each other is central to any programme.  (The consultation (* ie our October conference) demonstrated that graphically).  Gathering for learning is likely to involve residence because deacons are widely dispersed.  We have found a good pattern to be either two 2-day gatherings (one at the beginning and one near the end of a module) or 1 three day gathering. 
I have consistently heard two priorities (but think I heard a third interest at the meeting last month). 
Possible modules
1.  Learning about community engagement, building and empowerment.  This could include several elements, e.g.:
  • ministerial reflection on the practice of ministry among those who are marginalised;
  • reading mission primarily through the fourth ‘mark’ of mission;
  • the experience and self-understanding of deacons being ‘beyond’ the gathered church;
  • to gain skills of community development, using ABCD (asset-based community development) models and/or using Citizens UK models of community engagement and empowerment. 
2.  Apologetics which takes popular culture seriously and engages those who are ‘hard to reach’.  I have in mind people like Clive Marsh, Simon Sutcliffe, Robert Beckford who could stimulate creative thinking and practice.
3.  The third thing I heard at the conference, and which Paul Avis helped stimulate, was learning more about diaconal identity, its history, theology and vocation.  We don’t have anything on the books about this, but I don’t think it would be hard to put something together, and perhaps provide a basis for developing a resource for deacons in IME1.
For some people accreditation of learning matters and I would want to honour that.  The best way we have found to do this is to offer this learning as a post graduate certificate.  Since all deacons should have completed a diploma qualification in their initial ministerial education, all can be admitted to this level.  If someone doesn’t want to do so they don’t have to.  The model we have developed is to offer the first module as a taster: complete it, discover you can do it, and you can count it toward your PG Cert.  Complete it and realise this is not for you, and you can leave with minimal cost and no sense of failure.
If we were to offer two modules for a PG Cert, the first taster module would cost for £300 which includes accommodation for three or four nights; the second module has to be a more realistic price of £1,200, again including accommodation costs.  Deacons would have to meet their own travel costs, and if they wanted additional overnight accommodation they would need to pay a modest rate for this (£23.50 per night for B&B).
I would want to continue the conversation about whether this learning can be shared with Methodist Deacons, not only because I think it is good to enrich the group, but also because it may help form viable cohorts and keep costs down. 
How does all this sound?”
I look forward to hearing your diaconal responses! 




We’re so excited that this is taking place on 27 October at Queen’s Foundation College in Birmingham!  You’re warmly invited to attend, and bring any enquirers, ordinands, vocations advisers and DDOs with you!  Please do circulate them all with these details.

Because we’ve moved to a bigger venue, more tickets are now available.   Accommodation can also be booked at Queen’s:  contact Queen’s directly at

Here’s the programme for the day:  conference-programme-deacons-on-the-move

and copied below:


National Conference for the C of E Distinctive Diaconate

The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham (Frances Young Centre) 

27 October 2018 


9.45-10.15                Coffee

10.15                       Welcome and Morning Worship with the Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham

10.30                       The Revd Professor Paul Avis:  A Flagship Ministry – Deacons and the Church’s Mission (Part 1)

Related image

11.00                       Questions, pop-up deacons

11.15                       Paul Avis:  Part 2

11.45                       Questions

12.00                       Pop-up deacons, diaconal news:  the Revd Canon Dr David Hewlett, Principal of Queen’s Foundation College

12.30                       Lunch

13.15                       Pop-up deacon followed by discussion groups:

  1. Jessica Foster: the deacon in an inter-faith context
  2. Terry Drummond: the deacon speaking truth to power
  3. Bev Cree: the deacon connecting church and community
  4. Michael Turnbull: diaconal presence in chaplaincy
  5. Chris Saccali: the deacon, refugees & migrants
  6. Alison Handcock: the deacon and sacramental storytelling

14.00                       Pop-up deacon, followed by Panel:  questions and insights

14.30                       The way forward:  discussion followed by plenary with the Revd David Mann, DDO, diocese of York

15.15                       Pop-up deacon and closing worship, followed by tea


Because our autumn conference, Deacons on the Move, has been so over-subscribed we’ve spent the week moving venues to Queens Foundation college, about 10 minutes down the road from Woodbrooke:

The conference will take place in the Frances Young centre.

I’m delighted to say that the move has made lots more tickets available, so if you’ve been disappointed, please go back to the website and book – and bring other people with you!

Accommodation is also available at Queens, which you can book directly with them:

All details here:

Please continue to pray for God’s blessing and guidance on this conference.