In 1889, just five years after the arrival of the Philadelphia sisters, the General Synod of the Lutheran Church (USA) created a Board of Deaconess Work, designating deaconesses as persons holding an “office of the church”.
They opened a Motherhouse in Baltimore in 1895; the School was opened in 1910. They entered the nursing field, but not in hospitals. They were sent into the homes of the sick – as their German sisters still do.
They went to parishes to complement the pastor’s work, and entered the ‘foreign mission field’. This action by a Lutheran Church in instituting a Deaconess Community was a first for Lutheranism worldwide.
The School was for all women church workers, offering courses for parish workers, church educators, church secretaries, and pastors’ wives, as well as deaconesses and missionaries.
It continued operating until 1965, by which time deaconess candidates were attending seminaries across the country.
Merging Together As early as 1947, the Philadelphia and Baltimore Houses were in close consultation with one another. Church merger and the birth of the Lutheran Church in America in 1962 provided good timing for the unification of these two deaconess communities...read more
Pastor E.A. Fogelstrom created Immanuel Hospital and Deaconess Motherhouse in Omaha in 1890, a brief six years after the early beginnings in Philadelphia. He had sent women to Philadelphia and Sweden for training as deaconesses. Immanuel Hospital was opened in 1890,...read more