100 Years of Service – “Guidelines for Deaconesses”

The following was taken from an LDA “Manual for Deaconesses”, written in the 1950s and given to those who were preparing to enter their first call after graduation.  This manual also included “Guidelines for Those Employing Deaconesses” along with several criteria for evaluating the deaconess’ work.  These criteria included: “conscientiousness, consistency, personal appearance, initiative, accepting counsel, undue familiarity or aloofness, poise, leadership”.

GUIDELINES FOR DEACONESSES
You are a deaconess! You’re the proud possessor of a Deaconess Diploma that says so, and you are about to make your vow to the church and your Savior by beginning your deaconess service! Because this is such an important step, and because we know there are many questions in your mind as you begin, we offer this sheet of GUIDELINES. Your employer has received a similar sheet called “Guidelines for Those Employing Deaconesses.” Both of these have but one purpose — to help you to give your fullest and best in a blessed, joyful service to our Savior as a deaconess! If you have questions after reading this, please write to us, and we will try to answer them.

I.  WHAT THINGS CAN I DO TO ADJUST TO MY NEW PLACE OF SERVICE?
1. Write to your new employer; express happiness over placement; willingness to serve, etc., and ask him any questions you may have — perhaps about temporary housing arrangements, etc.
2. Plan with your employer the time of your arrival. Try to fit yourself into the temporary housing and be patient about making readjustments — not only in housing but in all areas of your work. You are the new worker; try to understand thoroughly any situation before planning any changes.
3. Be very open and frank with your employer — and tactful. Ask questions when you don’t understand share your problems with him — and be receptive to help.
4. Remember your employer is human, too. He appreciates the thoughtfulness and subtle helps and your patience. He is “responsible”, so to speak, for you, especially in a parish, because he is the pastor and the shepherd of the flock, so when your sheep are causing problems, go to the chief shepherd and you and he and the whole flock will benefit
5. Keep confidences!
6. Smile! You’ll be meeting new people all the time. Do you love these people? Sure you do! Do they want to love you? Surely. Then, let them know how you feel by being warm and receptive. A ready smile means ever so much!
7. Pray! Yes, we know you you’ll be lonesome the first few months. A single worker has this distinct problem. You cannot talk to just everyone because of keeping confidences, and you need to and want to talk to someone. This is where the Lord’s invitation to come to Him is vital! Remember, it is He who has motivated you to this service, and it is His love that sustains you each day. Pray for your employer, for the people you serve, and much growth will be effected in the Kingdom through you! Prayerful remembrance of one another is vital. The Kingdom’s growth and well-being is at stake as is happiness in Kingdom work for both employer and deaconess.

II. WHAT IS MY RELATIONSHIP TO THE DEACONESS ASSOCIATION?
1. The Association has helped provide for your education so that you might better serve the church. Thus you agreed to serve 3 years as a deaconess when you signed the scholarship agreements. If you do not serve the 3 years, you are assuming the responsibility of repayment of the scholarship portion still due. This relationship, then, exists between you and the IDA.
2. The Association also made your initial placement, and wants to help you with your transfers and is heartily interested in you and your welfare at all times, We want to share your problems, and if transfer to a new area of service is desirable, we will be happy to offer new positions and help in new placement arrangements.
3. The Association also wishes to maintain among all deaconesses a feeling of fellowship which you have due to your common office of deaconess, your common heritage as deaconesses, your similar educational background, and your similar goals as deaconess servants. To further this esprit de corps among deaconesses, the home office workers try to visit you when in your area of service, and to share news with you through a quarterly newsletter, For, Of and By Deaconesses Your contributions to this publication are welcome.
4. The Association wants to help you to be happy and to enjoy a full freedom of service, and to that end, is interested in all of your problems, your joys, and your work. Write to us, won’t you?

III. WHAT IS DEACONESS CONFERENCE?
1. To promote professional growth, the Deaconess Conference, an organization of all Synodical Conference deaconesses, has organized and meets annually to foster and carry on the deaconess spirit. Through the Conference, mutual sharing is possible and a deep feeling of fellowship is felt as papers, lectures, devotions, and business meetings are held at Conference each year.
2. Your employer has been informed of the importance of Conference to you, and he will be expecting you to talk to him about making arrangements to attend Conference. Conference time off is not to be vacation time. Also, conference expenses are shared among all those attending, so costs are nominal. Conference is vital — see you there!

IV. HOW CAN I FURTHER THE WORK OF THE DEACONESS ASSOCIATION?
1. By encouraging young women to enter deaconess service,
2. By encouraging financial support of the work in groups where you can.
3. By praying for the work of the Association and your sister deaconesses
4. By accepting speaking dates now and then to inform others regarding deaconess work in your own area and other areas; this is good public relations for your employer, for you, and for the Deaconess Association Write for visual aids or special aids, if you like.

But, the best possible way you can further the Deaconess Association and the Kingdom, is by turning in, each day, A JOB WELL DONE, You are the reason for a Deaconess Association, for, through you, the deaconess God’s children learn to love Him, know Him, serve Him.

This is Kingdom Work — This is your Work — and our Work.
Therefore, Blessings as you serve — ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE!

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