ADM was delighted to welcome a number of deaconesses and female deacons for a lunch in our offices on Friday, 13 April. These women have played a vital role in churches and communities across Sydney and beyond.

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Deaconesses were first ordained in the Sydney Anglican diocese in 1886. They worked in parishes – visiting people in their homes, ministering to and nursing the sick, teaching at Sunday schools and Scripture in schools and conducting evangelistic meetings, among other activities.

Over lunch, several deaconesses shared their memories of working in Sydney, as well as overseas. These days the deaconesses are cared for by Rev. Jacinth Myles, ADM’s Chaplain to Deaconesses & Retired Female Deacons. The clerical role of deacon was opened up to women in Sydney in 1989. Since 1991, women became ordained as deacons rather than deaconesses. Several of the next generation of women in ministry were also in attendance at the lunch.

Guests enjoyed tasty food, prayer and sharing together, and were also presented with a beautiful floral brooch to wear and take home. The deaconesses and female deacons were asked to share some words of encouragement for the next generation of Christian women, and their responses were deeply inspiring:

“In the midst of different interpretations of what people understand women’s ministry should look like, be encouraged that God, in his wisdom, has a wonderful ministry for you, which may not be the ministry he has organised for someone else. Enjoy what you have been raised up to do, and rejoice that God will always use your ministry, that you may be a blessing to others.” – Gill Jones, Deacon

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“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 and with joy.” – Lay Kum Ho, Deaconess

“Trust God for your future. His plans are always more amazing than we could think of – and he’ll go with us and never let us down!” – Kay Clark, Deacon

“Commit your life to Christ fully, and make sure to ask him what he wants you to do with your life. Pray very hard and be very sure – 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 asking 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 each one of us.” – Joan Egan, Deaconess

We thank God for the gifts and service of these women and the many others who have served so faithfully as deaconesses and deacons in the Sydney diocese. 

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