More than 50 deaconesses and students heard presentations and reports, and took part in business sessions, worship, Bible studies, and fellowship activities during this year’s annual conference of the Concordia Deaconess Conference (CDC), June 10-13 at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Theme of the conference was “Resting in the Lord, Renewed by His Strength,” from Matt. 11:28-30.
Elected to two-year terms were:
- Deborah Rockrohr of Ann Arbor, vice president;
- Carol Olday, Lake Worth, Fla., treasurer; and
- Ruth McDonnell, St. Louis, member at-large.
Deaconess Lorna Meeker of Kenya, East Africa, gave a presentation on her work with the Ogango Deaconess College, which trains deaconesses, and the Dago Center for orphans and widows. CDC members voted to divide the conference offering of $1,100 equally between the two Kenyan ministries. The offering amount will be matched by LCMS World Relief/Human Care.
Representatives of the three LCMS deaconess training programs — at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill. — gave updates. Among information shared, it was reported that deaconess interns are serving in such diverse locations as Paraguay, Macau, and England, as well as sites in the United States.
Conference-goers also heard that the deaconess program at River Forest is developing “intensive” courses for its May term, and is planning a weeklong summer camp for high-school girls so they can explore deaconess service.
In her report to the conference, CDC President Pamela Nielsen recognized deaconesses in attendance from Central and South America and Kenya, as well as the many women who are serving in diverse capacities to allow the CDC to remain focused on its objectives of giving all glory to God, extending the kingdom of God, assisting The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in upholding deaconess service, and providing opportunities for spiritual, professional, and personal growth and fellowship for those serving as deaconesses.
Nielsen encouraged members to consider “What does it mean to be a member of CDC?”
“Certainly, CDC exists to provide each of us with professional and spiritual support … God provides for us through CDC,” she said. “Another answer to the question is to say, ‘How can I be of service to my fellow deaconesses and to my church through CDC?’” Nielsen noted the many deaconess programs developing worldwide that share the Synod’s Lutheran confession and are eager for assistance in forming their communities.
Also addressing the conference was the CDC’s spiritual counselor, Rev. John Berg, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Sheboygan, Wis., who led Bible studies and spoke on “spiritual wellsprings” — the gifts of Word and sacrament, and confession and absolution — and Dr. David J. Ludwig, family-life counselor, author, and speaker, and associate pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Hickory, N.C. Ludwig’s presentation focused on relationships organized around “shared responsibilities and joy built on the promise of God’s design for humans, which offers a loving alternative to an increasing ‘me-oriented’ culture.”
Conference-goers also attended workshops on topics such as grief, deaconess ministry in Central and South America, campus ministry, prison ministry, the work of LCMS World Relief/Human Care, and serving with MOST (Mission Opportunities Short Term) Ministries and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
For more information about the Concordia Deaconess Conference, send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Information for this story was provided by Deaconess Jennifer M. Phillips of Monroeville, Ind.)
Posted Aug. 6, 2007