Deaconess Sarah Longmire (pictured center, between Deaconess Glenn and Deaconess Sherwin) shares insight on the blessings that serving as a deaconess can provide. Deaconess Longmire serves at St. Matthew in Lee’s Summit. Since 2020 she has served as President of the Concordia Deaconess Conference.
What does a deaconess do?
In the broad picture, deaconesses intentionally engage and love their neighbors. The work of a deaconess is rooted in sharing Jesus’ love and mercy. In specific, though, deaconesses serve out this work in many different ways. I LOVE sharing and teaching about Jesus. I love thinking theologically, meeting with people, sharing the faith (especially with kiddos), and serving others.
How to prepare to become a deaconess?
There are three main ways that a young woman can become a deaconess. First, as an undergraduate student, she can enroll in the Deaconess Program at Concordia University Chicago. Second, she can enroll as a graduate student at either Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN or at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Third, especially if she is becoming a deaconess as a second career or later in life, she can investigate online programs which are also through the Seminaries.
What was your path to become a deaconess?
I had no intention of being a deaconess! In fact, I had never even heard of a deaconess before I was a student at Concordia University Chicago. It wasn’t until two different pastors, independent of one another, told me that I should consider being a deaconess that I even investigated diaconal work! After exploring the program and the work, though, I knew that this was definitely a fit for who I was and who I am.
Advice for young ladies?
One of the greatest opportunities associated with being a deaconess, in my opinion, is how varied the work can be. My skill set is in education and administration - thanks be to God! I get to serve in educational settings! Others’ skill sets may be in: organization, medicine, leadership, visitation, relationship-building...and the list could go on. If there is a love for Jesus and a deep respect for Lutheran theology, consider becoming a deaconess. Use your other gifts in and with the faith you have been given through the Holy Spirit and nurtured through Word and Sacrament; deaconesses get to serve in various vocations and use their unique gifts to share Jesus’ love with their neighbors.