Meet Our Deaconesses

Honour her for all that her hands have done – Proverbs 31:31. ADM stands on a legacy of inspiring women – courageous pioneers who lived out the word of God in practical ways.

  CEO Kate Harrison Brennan and some of our deaconesses at the 125th celebration of ADM in 2016.

CEO Kate Harrison Brennan and some of our deaconesses at the 125th celebration of ADM in 2016.

Our organisation was born from the vision of Rev. Mervyn and Martha Archdall, who were inspired by the work of deaconesses in Germany. They established the Church of England Deaconess Institution, known as 'Bethany' in Sydney 1891.

  Celebrating our deaconesses at a lunch at ADM in April 2018. Seated L-R: Dss. Doreen Garrick, Dss. Joan Egan, Rev. Kay Clark and Rev. Clare Percival. Standing L-R: Rev. Gillian Jones, Rev. Jacinth Myles, Rev. Sandra Salmon, Rev. Kerrie Newmarch and Rev. Lay Kum Ho.

Celebrating our deaconesses at a lunch at ADM in April 2018. Seated L-R: Dss. Doreen Garrick, Dss. Joan Egan, Rev. Kay Clark and Rev. Clare Percival. Standing L-R: Rev. Gillian Jones, Rev. Jacinth Myles, Rev. Sandra Salmon, Rev. Kerrie Newmarch and Rev. Lay Kum Ho.

deaconesses reached out into their communities with the love of Jesus as they served in churches, hospitals, schools and children’s homes. Their ministry work included teaching, encouraging, caring and training. The last deaconess was set apart in 1991, after the role of deacon was opened to women in 1989. Our deaconesses leave us a legacy of sacrificial service and ministry.

In April 2018, many of our remaining deaconesses, along with several female deacons, joined together at ADM for lunch and a time of prayer and sharing. On that day, we asked them to share their advice for the next generation of Christian women, based on their experiences in ministry:

In everything, give thanks to the Lord who has called you to ministry, because the Lord is a faithful Lord, friend, teacher, provider. He cares and he will supply all your needs as you serve him faithfully with joy.
— Lay Kum Ho, Deaconess
Commit your life to Christ fully, and make sure to ask him what he wants you to do with your life. There is always something that God wants you to do that could be very special. Work hard at finding out what that is.
— Doreen Garrick, Deaconess
Always be listening to what God might want you to do. Walk every day listening to his voice, reading his word and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. The opportunity will come up at the right time. Know that God is sovereign. Trust God and he will fulfil his purpose for you.
— Joan Egan, Deaconess

Deaconess Stories

Get to know more about the lives and experiences of our past and current deaconesses.