Annual Meeting (of the LDC)
The Lutheran Deaconess Conference (the community of LDA deaconesses and students) meets annually as a community for worship, business and growth. These are typically four-day events. The location of the annual meeting changes each year, in order to allow participation by those who live farther away from the Center for Diaconal Ministry in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Area Conference LDA deaconesses meet regularly with others in their geographic area for personal sharing, prayer, study, and support.
Clinical Pastoral Education CPE is nationally recognized as a program that teaches pastoral care skills. CPE is typically offered in hospital settings, where students serve with professional chaplains. CPE provides intensive self-reflection and group process in a clinical setting.  (VU students may enroll in Theo 453, Clinical Education for Ministry, in lieu of CPE.)
Deaconess A deaconess is a Lutheran woman, formed in community, educated in Lutheran theology, consecrated to serve people in church and society.
Diaconate The group of people (a community of deacons or deaconesses) who engage in diakonia.
Diakonia A Greek word that means “service.” It is used to describe “waiting on tables.” Diakonia is servanthood for the sake of others that gives dignity to others without demeaning oneself. It’s the kind of service that Jesus showed us how to do.
Discernment A lifelong process of seeking God’s guidance. Discernment can lead to decision-making. Discernment is also used to support personal and spiritual growth in a deepening relationship with God.
Distance-learning The distance-learning option is available to both non-traditional students and traditional students pursuing studies at a college or university other than Valparaiso. Students may find theology courses and work/ministry experiences convenient to their location, as approved by the LDA. Distance-learning students are still required to attend annual seminar in Valparaiso once a year.
Education The LDA’s education and formation process does not require any academic degree, and the LDA is not a degree-granting organization.  However, theological study is required and ordinarily, students will be encouraged to work toward at least a bachelor’s degree.
Field Work
Supervised volunteer activities during a student's first year in formation to help her practice ministry skills and develop a  deaconess identity. A relationship with a supervisor offers time for reflection on personal and professional goals, and for feedback on the student's progress.
Final Interview
The final step before consecration by a special committee to indicate the student’s readiness for diaconal ministry and life in this community. The student presents a portfolio compiled during Phase II to demonstrate her competency in four areas of formation:  spiritual life, theology, work/ministry, and diaconal community.
Formation Formation includes self-reflection and experiences that help students grow in their deaconess identity and service.
Individual Formation Covenant
An Individual Formation Covenant (IFC) is developed by the student and the LDA to guide her particular process, taking into account her particular education, experience, and goals.
Internship Internship is a one year experience in a paid position as the student engages in professional ministry and reflection.
Mentor The deaconess who is assigned by the LDA to support a specific student during the education/formation process.
Roster Each church body sets standards for specific “rosters” (lists of trained and approved workers). While on a roster, church workers are accountable to church body leaders to maintain standards of ministry.
Student seminars are annual weeklong parts of the education and formation process centered in prayer and worship, theology study, learning about diaconal ministry, building community with other deaconess students, individual meetings with the LDA staff, and time for personal reflection.
Spiritual Director A spiritual director accompanies one who seeks a deeper relationship with God and who desires to become more aware of the movement of God in one's life. Spiritual directors often have experience and training in discernment and the disciplines of prayer.
Sponsor A deaconess of the inquirer’s choice who assists with discernment. The sponsor might answer as well as ask questions, and may provide a reference for the applicant’s admission portfolio.
Theology Students complete college, university, or seminary classes to fulfill these requirements:  Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), New Testament, Church History, World Religions, Lutheran Doctrine/Lutheran Confessions, and Theology of Diaconal Ministry.  Other courses may be added, depending on the student’s area of focus.