Deaconess Kim Sherwin
I do a lot of different things. I help our pastors with their hospital and shutin calls, and I’ve done some teaching (adult Bible study, Confirmation classes). I’m in charge of our grief ministry, and I coordinate a lot of our volunteers. I’m also involved in many of the events that the church puts on throughout the year. I’m working to expand our once-a-year women’s retreat into a more intentional women’s ministry. And only God knows what else I’ll do here!
What motivates you as you serve in your diaconal field?
Wanting to live a life of active faith and service, sharing God’s love and mercy with people who need to hear the comfort of the Gospel.
Why did you choose to become a deaconess?
When I was younger, I half-jokingly said I’d love to have a career going on servant events and mission trips. There’s something about those times of service that really resonated with me. When I got older that desire was still there, but buried under all the the “must find a career” thought processes. Eventually someone from my church suggested becoming a deaconess, and when I looked into it, it just clicked. A position that focuses on mercy work and Christian care, using my unique talents and interests in any number of diverse settings? Sounds like a perfect fit!
Deaconess Cheryl Naumann
“The Lord has been merciful to me in giving me salvation as a gift through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. There are others who need to know that God desires to reconcile all people to Himself; that salvation can be theirs through Jesus. Though such work has challenges, this is a message I want to speak to others, wherever God calls me to serve Christ in my neighbor.”
As a deaconess/missionary in the Dominican Republic, Deaconess Cheryl does many things:
Directs the VDMA Project, translating into Spanish and electronically distributing Confessional Lutheran theological resources for pastors and seminarians in 16 Latin American Countries. Coordinates the Mercy Center in Palmar Arriba, Dominican Republic. Assists with diaconal needs in the community and mission congregations of the DR.
Deaconess Liz Borth
Redeeming Life Outreach Ministries, Inc., Sanford Florida: an RSO of LCMS
“I serve our Lord because I am drawn to guide people away from harm and point to peace with Jesus. All I do, say, teach, and exemplify is about Jesus. I work with broken, hurting and lost people who are in darkness. They feel hopeless and need Jesus for assurance of positive self-worth. I learned Jesus is loving and comforting from the time I was three. I learned Jesus is powerful, awesome, and to be revered when I studied at Seminary. I want to share my gentle and powerful Jesus with those who don’t really know Him.” -Deaconess Liz Borth, Redeeming Life Outreach Ministries, an RSO of the LCMS
Rev. Daniel Voth
Immanuel Lutheran, Grand Forks, ND
You should have a deaconess at your church! Why? You’re not superman for one. Even the Twelve recognized and knew they needed assistance so they could devote themselves to the preaching of God’s Word. Deaconesses help you to do that very thing. They are not looking to take over your pulpit, but to assist pastors as servants of Christ according to their office, not yours. They carry out opportunities for witnessing to the Gospel of Christ that you do not have time for. Our congregation has been blessed to have a deaconess who started a Women’s Bible Study, provided weekly outreach to the developmentally disabled in our community, and started several programs to help women who lost infants in all stages that have been invaluable.
Additionally, they provide care you cannot give. There are unique to women things in life that men cannot relate or empathize with that your deaconess can. For some women, coming to a pastor for Spiritual Care is difficult if not impossible, but they can go to a deaconess, who can then lead them to their pastor when time and need is right. Visitation is also another area that a deaconess provides that is of great value to the congregation. Shut-ins love having company, as do the hospitalized. Deaconesses provide another loving member of their congregation who visits and shares Christ with them as we look to the day of resurrection and restoration of health.
I can still recall the first time that I met one of the Deaconesses of our Church. Deaconess Pam Nielson was sitting in my Confessions One class at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I soon learned that she was a fine theologian who loved God’s word and had a heart for service. During my time with her I thought, “If ever I have the opportunity to serve with a Deaconess I will be greatly blessed.”
Some twenty years later that time came when as Senior Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church a vacancy arose. I thought, “With our Day School what better office to introduce to the Church than that of Deaconess? Our young scholars are in need of instruction in the faith and the young ladies in the group would greatly benefit from the model of an outstanding Christian woman. Additionally the Congregation is in need of someone to help lead them in their works of mercy.” We were extremely blessed to be served by a Deaconess for seven of the next eight years.
During that same time I became the Spiritual Advisor for the CDC. It is an honor and blessing to serve the Deaconesses of the CDC but the far greater blessing is that I can honestly say that I have been aptly served on numerous occasions by many of the Deaconesses of our Church. As one of my confirmation students once said while we were studying terminology, “The word Deaconess must mean, nice!”