After many months of planning, the LCMS Deaconess Biographies Project was launched on June 4, 2009. A new URL has been acquired for the project website and the Project Manager is now in the process of designing a website to facilitate project goals.
So what is it all about ? The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod archives house good biographical records on the men who have served as pastors, missionaries, and teachers for the Synod. These records make it possible for families to find information about their ancestors, and also very importantly, provide information about the church's activities and mission throughout the decades. What fun it can be to make a visit to Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis and read patriotic hymns penned by one pastor, or the stories of parish visits made on horseback by another.
Over the last five years or so, members of the Missouri Synod have become increasingly aware of the presence and role of other church workers that fit into the category, "ministers of religion - commissioned." That is not to say that such people hold the "office of the ministry" but that they are non-ordained professional church workers who have been commissioned by the church into a particular "church vocation." Among these vocations, of course, is the office of deaconess, in which a woman engages in a ministry of mercy which complements the ministry of Word and Sacraments carried out by the office of the ministry (or pastoral office).
As a result of research needs, the fact that there are three deaconess training schools in the Synod, and an increased interest in the deaconess movement, the LCMS Deaconess Biographies Project is being carried out at a good time in the Synod's history. Watch this space for an future announcement of the website address.