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ADM History

      Pranks, laughter and service: Deaconess Doreen Garrick   From spirited, mischievous college girl to dedicated, energetic deaconess, Doreen Garrick’s heart for the lost and vigour for the gospel has always been central to her identity. Her story reflects how God can work through the most ordinary moments and smallest decisions of our lives to bring about his glory.       



              Deaconess Doreen Garrick  



     Doreen is the kind of person who you would love to have a cup of tea with, and soak in the stories and wisdom acquired over her 85 years. She is retired and is an active evangelist in her community, making the most of the everyday opportunities that God gives her to spread his gospel. “I have met a lot of people at the bus stop who I’ve got to know. They know that I belong to the church and that I’m a Christian. One couple do come to church at Christmas, as a result of meeting them at the bus stop,” she says. “Going to the gym, I have met up with a lot of Jewish people and they know I’m a Christian. With some of them, we can talk about Christian things when there’s time.”  Doreen was baptised a Catholic, but attended All Saints' Anglican church in Woollahra. After she left school at 15 years old, she worked at a factory during the day, while attending business college at night. One day when she was at a Church Mission Society Summer School, Doreen felt the Lord calling her to the mission field. In response, she enrolled at Deaconess House (now Mary Andrews College) in 1957.  Doreen’s stories of her time at Deaconess House sound like an Enid Blyton novel, full of harmless pranks and mischievous laughter. She describes herself then as a “shy and obedient young woman”, but her own account of those years tells a very different story. During a social event at St Stephen’s Newtown in her first year at Deaconess House, Doreen covered herself in a white sheet and ‘haunted’ the graveyard next to the church, along with the minister’s daughter. “The rector was not amused,” she recalls.     



              Deaconess House, in Newtown, is now known as Mary Andrews House  



     Doreen also remembers sneaking out to buy fish and chips one evening, despite being forbidden to leave the college at night. When Doreen and the other two students with her were caught, “we explained we were motivated by hunger, and how the weevils came up from our cereal and said ‘good morning’ when we poured the milk. We were marched to the kitchen, all the cereal was tipped out and, guess what, no weevils!”  Of course, not every comical mishap at the college was caused by Doreen. She recounts how every Monday morning, the then-principal Mary Andrews would lead the chapel service. “One Monday she didn’t turn up and the service had to go ahead without her. When it finished, a student went looking for her. Upstairs was a large linen cupboard. We had been taught to close a cupboard door if we saw one open. A student had done just that – and had locked the principal inside.”  Doreen says her time at Deaconess House “certainly helped to bring me out of myself!” It also provided her with training for deaconess ministry. She was commissioned as a deaconess in 1960 and began to work full-time at St Paul’s Redfern. At St Paul’s, Doreen ran a Girl’s Club and taught Sunday school and Scripture. However, her favourite part of this ministry was parish and hospital visitation, and she contributed to the church’s work of caring for Indigenous Australians and homeless people in Redfern.  But there were some tasks in parish work that her training could never have prepared her for, like spending Saturday evenings assessing the motor of a 22-seat bus with the minister of St Paul’s, ensuring that it would run smoothly the next day. Or when she had to put on her “brave face” and investigate the bathrooms of the church before the children used them, in case there was someone lingering down there.  Doreen worked at St Paul's for five years before moving to Victoria to work for the Mission of St James and St John. She spent two years there, working with children from broken homes. She describes this as a difficult period in her working life. “We were truly tested in patience and understanding,” she says. Surprisingly, one of her trials there was learning how to prepare a roast dinner. “I don’t like cooking,” she says. “What I disliked most was having to learn how to cook properly – a job I hated.”  Following this, Doreen worked as an Anglican Chaplain at the Prince of Wales Hospital for seven years and then worked for the Architect’s Department of the Public Works Department for New South Wales, as she says that “there were no positions in the Sydney Diocese for women at that time”.  Upon her retirement, she moved into Goodwin Retirement Village in Woollahra, and was made President of the Resident’s Committee in 2005.  When asked how she would like to be remembered, Doreen says, “I’m a simple Christian person who was prepared to help those in need whenever the need arose.”                 Find out more about  ADM's History


Pranks, laughter and service: Deaconess Doreen Garrick

From spirited, mischievous college girl to dedicated, energetic deaconess, Doreen Garrick’s heart for the lost and vigour for the gospel has always been central to her identity. Her story reflects how God can work through the most ordinary moments and smallest decisions of our lives to bring about his glory…


      Celebrating our deaconesses      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.     






     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       






      “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.     Discover more about ADM's programs and funding for women...


Celebrating our Deaconesses

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…


      Who was Mary Andrews?     



              Deaconess Mary Andrews  



     Mary Andrews College and ADM* stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today, writes Hayley Lukabyo.  God has used many faithful women to do great works in his name. One example is Mary Andrews. She lived out her faith by helping other women to flourish in Kingdom work, as well as ministering to and caring for the gospel-poor and the disadvantaged. Throughout her life, there was a verse that guided and inspired Mary – Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me .”  Living by faith in Jesus led her to serve in dangerous and challenging places; to become a champion for the marginalised; and to be a fearless Bible teacher.  Mary was born in 1915 in the small town of Cooma in NSW. Her father was a grazier, and her mother had always hoped to be a missionary. As her mother saw that it was God’s will for her to remain in Australia, she prayed that somebody else in her own family would become a missionary.  Mary became a Christian as a little girl. Reading through the Bible when she was 10 years old, she wept at the injustice of Jesus’ crucifixion and at the realisation that she shared responsibility for his death. This led her to pray for forgiveness and, in thankfulness, she committed her life to Jesus – a commitment that she honoured for the rest of her life.  As a teenager, Mary heard the voice of God say to her, “China, China, China”. In response, Mary said to God, “From this day, I yield the control of my life to you. I am willing to be obedient, even if it means going to China.” After she finished school, Mary trained at Gladesville Psychiatric Hospital and then studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible Training College. Afterwards, she studied at Deaconess House, beginning a long-lasting relationship with the institution.     



              Mary Andrews visiting a family in Erskineville  



     Mary spent time working among the poor, the sick and those who had suffered great injustice. She fought hard against what she called the “powers of darkness” around her. This impulse to work selflessly for the gospel continued when Mary felt the call of God to mission work in China in 1937. Despite her fears of going to China on her own as the threat of World War II loomed, and the dangers and obstacles that she knew that she may face, Mary was convinced that to fulfil the will of God, she must go. She was comforted by the knowledge that she was   “in the centre of the circle and will of God”. Mary was sure that God had sent her to China to share her experience of God’s transcendent grace with the war-torn country, and that God would protect her and provide for her as she endeavoured to do his will. While in China, she taught Sunday school and English Bible classes, ran home evangelistic meetings and made hospital visits. She also taught at short-term Bible schools.  In 1944, as the war progressed, Mary escaped from China to India. There she continued her ministry and care for the disadvantaged by working at a children’s home and a home for destitute women and girls. She returned to China in 1947, but was forced to move back to Australia when the Chinese Community Party came to power. However, this did not lead to the death of her ministry in China. It continued to flourish in her absence, prompting a pastor from Beijing to tell Mary on her visit there in 1991, “It is good that you came back to see that the fruit of your work, and that of the other Christian missionaries, is still going on, in fact increasing.”     



              Deaconess Mary Andrews & students at King Memorial Middle School in Shaohsing, China  



     Mary served as the Principal of Deaconess House (which later became Mary Andrews College) from 1952 to 1975. In her time as Principal, Mary was devoted to helping women flourish with the gifts, and in the ministry contexts, that God had given them. A student wrote this about her experience with Mary at Deaconess House:   “My memory of Mary Andrews is that of a loving yet firm director in a very big house of women … She always seemed to be calm and joyful … Her focus in all things was on the Lord. ‘Whatever you do, in word and deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus …’. She used the practical parts of the epistles with real effect as she attempted to guide us and mould our Christian characters. [Mary] made it clear that her strength and help came from our Lord.”  Mary was a strong advocate for recognition and respect for women’s ministry. She said, “The more I studied the gospels, the more amazed I was by the way our Lord elevated women and entrusted them with the deepest truths, and gave Mary the privilege of telling Peter and his other disciples that he was risen.”  In speaking about her life, Mary said, “The measure of what you can do for the world will be simply what you let God do with yourself. With most of us, God can do so little because we are so little between his hands. That Jesus really wants me and needs me is the wonder and strength of my life. He has met my every need and in him I am fully satisfied.”  Mary died in 1996. She leaves behind for Mary Andrews College and ADM a powerful legacy of what it looks like to be a courageous Christian woman, unafraid to boldly answer the call of God to fight injustice and help women flourish in Kingdom work, regardless of the personal cost. She has inspired Christian women for generations to use their gifts to serve God’s Kingdom, and her story continues to do so today.            All quotes taken from Going it Alone, by Margaret Yarwood Lamb.     *   Mary Andrews College    is a ministry of Anglican Deaconess Ministries. The college was first established as Deaconess House in 1891. The aim of the college is to raise up women with theological formation for practical ministry. For more information about the history and purpose of Mary Andrews College, visit


Who was Mary Andrews?

Mary Andrews College and ADM stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today ...