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This month we want to tell you more about the “LCMS Deaconess Ministry” program of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, recipient of a $39,523 grant from Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM) in the 2019–2021 biennium.

Our Lord Jesus Christ bids us to make disciples, to Baptize and to catechize, and our Lutheran Confessions tell us to "Love, care and be concerned for those in need, actions motivated by the Gospel”. Christ's mandate and example of love remains our supreme example for life in this world, caring for the needy, body and soul. Deaconesses are full time professional church workers who are trained to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a ministry of works of mercy, spiritual care and teaching the Christian faith.

The Greek root of the word deaconess, diakonia, means “servant”. Phoebe, named in Romans 16:1–2, a helper to Paul and others, is often considered the first deaconess. In the church today, deaconesses primarily serve in three settings: missions, both foreign and domestic; congregations and institutions. These women guide others to the Word and Sacraments by demonstrating the compassion of Christ through acts of mercy, teaching and witnessing the Christian faith, especially to women, youth and children, assisting members in dealing with long-term crises such as disabilities, illness, unemployment, or poverty, providing spiritual care for women with special needs, such as domestic violence, pregnancy, the loss of a child, or post-abortion grief, administering the distribution of food and clothing to the poor, serving as administrators or teachers within Lutheran organizations, collaborating with nurses (especially parish nurses) in caring for the sick and creating awareness in the congregation of the human care needs in both the church and the community.

The LCMS Deaconess Ministry works both domestically and internationally to form women into church professionals. The deaconess program is a rigorous one of theological studies and trainings that provide the foundation for the charitable life of those who serve on behalf of Christ and His church. The program provides LCMS students the learning and training to understand diaconal leadership, the work of deaconesses as applied to body and soul ministry.

This grant will provide educational and financial support to our partner churches who introduce deaconess training programs within their church bodies, including churches in places as far away as the Philippines, Latvia, Liberia, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. It assists purchasing textbooks and provides resources for international students or students with financial restraints.

Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM) is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, LWM has focused on affirming each woman’s relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and by supporting global missions. For more information on each month’s mission focus, visit Saint John’s Lutheran Women in Mission (Mission Guild) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30 AM in Room 301. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.