As a widely dispersed community, deacons are united through their common Rule of Life. The Rule is not compulsory, but it is hoped that it will be freely followed and adapted to each deacon's lifestyle. It provides a framework for the hectic rhythm of everyday life and may become a blessing and a joy, bringing glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We endeavour to:
attend worship regularly, especially Holy Communion.
set aside time each day to read the Bible devotionally and to pray, including a time of intercession for members of the Order.
regularly set aside time for self-examination, a chance to look back and see where we have failed in loving God and our neighbours and to give thanks for blessings received.
find a spiritual director/companion, who will accompany, help and affirm us, and make time each year for a Retreat or Quiet Day.
We endeavour to:
be sensitive to the needs of those close to us, our families, dependents and friends.
be aware of and relate to, the community in which we live.
acknowledge and enjoy God's gifts to us of time, talents, money and possessions and through God's grace be able stewards of these.
order the rhythm of each day, month and year, to allow for study and relaxation, weekly day off, regular holiday.
attend Convocation (unless a dispensation is granted).
participate in the life of area groups wherever possible and attend meetings.
keep in contact with other members of the Order by giving or receiving of fellowship and support, by visits, letter or telephone.
In the third century the first Christian monasteries wrote rules covering all aspects of life on their walls. The goal was to keep God at the centre of their individual and collectives living.
The word 'rule' can bring to mind images of school regulations, legal requirements and maybe for us Methodists, CPD! But the word 'rule' really means 'regular' and so a rule of lfe is something to help us live our lives in regular contact with God, welcoming each new day/week as an opportunity to love and serve God and our neighbour.
The MDO rule offers a means by which "we might be liberated to find a sense of wholeness in the rhythm of life" and find "a framework for the enrichment of our own life, the life of the Order and the people of God amongst whom we live". In comparison the Rule of St Benedict emphasises the daily balance between work, rest and prayer lived out in community.
A rule of life should enable us to develop a balanced, sustainable and enjoyable rhythm of life. Its purpose is to map out for us in a few practical ways the different dimensions of our calling, helping us to balance, rather than be driven by, the many demands of life. In this way we may live in every area of our lives or, as John Greenleaf Whittier wrote: "Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease, let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace".