What Does a Deaconess Do?

With Call Day coming up in a week, here’s a highlight from one of our deaconess interns, who is looking forward to having her placement announced at the service coming up on Wednesday evening, April 29. Mika Patron wrote the following for her church, explaining what a deaconess does, especially in light of the source of all mercy work:

“What does a deaconess do?”

That’s always a hard question for me to answer—not because I don’t have an answer, but because there are so many ways to answer that question. I could list off the different ways I serve at Grace; I could focus on one specific aspect of what I do, like support Pastor, visit our shut-in and hospitalized members, or work with high school teens; I could talk about what deaconesses are doing all over the world, like Deaconess Christel Neuendorf’s care for earthquake victims in Puerto Rico; I could talk about what deaconesses have historically done, from the early church to the time of C.F.W Walther and Wilhelm Loehe, how they cared for the sick, the lowly, and the poor, whether young or old, male or female, who were passed over by society as unworthy of care.

But all of those answers that I could give have to also be connected to their source: Jesus! As the children of God, all of us love and care for those forgotten or ignored by society, the poor and the sick, and everyone in between, because our Lord Jesus first loved and cared for us! He came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

Our Lord Jesus’ service is the source of all deaconess service: His love and mercy drive us to love the high school teen, hold the hand of a dying 92-year-old saint, sort clothes for those who need them, and point God’s people to their pastor to receive Christ’s Gifts of His Word and Sacrament for the forgiveness of sins and to strengthen faith. Deaconesses care for people’s bodily and spiritual needs because that’s what our Lord did-and continues to do! We do all of this because the poor among us, our sick, our elderly brothers and sisters in Christ, our struggling high school students, our family members, our friends and neighbors are precious treasures in Jesus’ eyes. And so are you. You are Christ’s treasured possession! Jesus sold everything He had to make you His own (Matthew 13:44-45)! Because you are precious to our Lord, you are precious to the deaconess-you are precious to me: And therein lies the joy of deaconess service, the joy of serving this family of God at Grace in Auburn, Michigan: “What does a deaconess do? What do you, Mika, do as a deaconess?” My answer: I get to love and care for Christ’s treasures!

Photo from last year’s Vicarage & Deaconess Internship Assignment Service; from left to right, deaconess interns Chelsie Schmeisser, Mika Patron, Kate Phillips, Bethany Stoever, and Stephanie Wilde.