Methodist Deacon David Clark is passionate about the renewal of the church as movement rather than institution.

Speaking at this year’s Diocesan Deacons’ Conference at Wydale Hall, he presented an inspirational vision of an outward facing church.

In a world beset by social fragmentation, he believes solutions can only develop via strong communities. “It’s building community or bust” he said, but “community is a benign aerosol word we squirt on everything.”

He identified strong communities as those shaped by relationships, feelings, values and beliefs which is where theology comes in. Theology addresses the communal dilemma, moving its dark side away from insularity and sectarianism towards openness, inclusion, and acceptance of diversity. All people matter and each counts.

David pictures the diaconal church as a servant of the Kingdom community with deacons as mission enablers and the laity in pole position as messengers and community builders. Deacons have a key role to play in nurturing life, love, liberation and learning as the gifts of the Kingdom and noticing where these already exist outside church. The church exists to make these gifts real in people’s experience in everyday life and relationships.

David Clark is a Methodist deacon, formerly a presbyter, and a member of the Society of Friends. He has been a leading figure in the Christian Community Movement, establishing the National Centre for Christian Communities and Networks, and set up the Christians in Public Life Programme in the early 1990s. In 1997 he founded the Human City Institute (Birmingham). He writes on the nature of community, schools as learning communities and the mission of the church in today’s world.

David has a blog at

The weekend was full of inspiring stories of deacons making connections with communities of interest beyond the church, for example with bikers, market stall holders place and older people.

  • For enquirers, incumbents and anyone interested to know more about the diaconate, the date for Wydale Weekend 2020 is February 28th-March 1st.
  • The next day meeting of the York deacons’ group is on November 16th at St Edward's Dringhouses (York), with Bishop of Hull Alison White.

Go to Vocations pages