Why I am a Deaconess – Sr. Shana Williams

Sr. Shana Williams is currently studying for a Masters in Special Education at the University of North Dakota and working through their Special Education Resident Teacher Program. She was consecrated in November of 2008. 

I became a deaconess to serve with the support of a community of strong, faithful women. I began my seminary career thinking I would become a pastor, but something always seemed to be missing as I pursued this path.

When I took some time off before what would have been my MDiv internship, I met Sister Noreen and it became apparent what was missing. It was a sense of community and an emphasis on servant leadership.

What sets the Deaconess Community apart is our commitment to community and to service.

I was drawn to the Deaconess Community by the strong sense of community and the emphasis on servant leadership. As a child of a small farming community, I had grown up with that sense of community, where neighbors looked out for one another and were connected through the ups and downs of life.

Leaving my small, close-knit community for college and seminary separated me from that community support in a way, and the Deaconess Community embodied that family closeness that the other rosters didn’t for me.

Also, growing up in that small community ingrained a deep commitment to service that I did not have language for until I joined the ministry.

The drive to serve was so much a part of who I was, having been steeped in the small farming community culture of helping your neighbor, that it was automatic, instinctual.

I didn’t realize this until I became a deaconess and saw that service like this was a calling.

The Deaconess Community’s commitment to community and service are part of what shape the work that I do in my daily life.

In my current role as special education teacher in a low-income, high-needs school district puts me in the midst of the lives of high school students who desperately need support and encouragement.

The Deaconess Community has a long, dedicated history of meeting people where they are, in their most vulnerable and needy states.

I carry on that dedication, building relationships and providing stability and advocacy for teenagers who often have no one but those of us at the school on their sides.