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For over ten years, the Lewis Center in partnership with the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits has reported annually on Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church. The Lewis Center prepares these reports so that church leaders can see the most important trends in clergy numbers and ages in such a way that they understand these trends, can easily share them with others, and act upon the findings.
The report covers elders, deacons, and local pastors. Elders are ordained to a ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order and Service. They itinerate and receive an appointment annually by the bishop. Deacons are ordained to a ministry of Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice to both the community and a congregation. Deacons are not required to itinerate, nor guaranteed an appointment. A local pastor is licensed and appointed to perform the duties of a pastor in a particular setting. They are not required to itinerate, nor guaranteed an appointment.