Having chanced upon an interesting article posted on April 29, titled "The End of an Era" - which reported the February 25, 2010, death of the last deaconess in the United Church of Christ, I was amused to see the author's parochially short-sighted conclusion. Since the "comments are closed" on this article, even though it was posted only yesterday (!), I felt compelled to write a comment here.
The first two paragraphs of the article started out well enough - with a short historical statement...
"In the late nineteenth century, St. Louis was the American center of the Deaconess Sisters, a movement that traced its spiritual roots back as far as Paul’s first letter to the Romans. This order of women, founded in Germany in the 1830s, dedicated their lives to caring for the sick and the poor. They were established in America in 1889 by a group of St. Louis Evangelical pastors who wanted to respond to the needs of the poor in their community.
"The Deaconess Sisters of St. Louis, which included 200 women, launched Deaconess Hospital and a nursing school and worked with children, seniors, and the homebound ill. Their work continues today through the ministries of CHHSM members including the Deaconess Foundation, Deaconess Parish Nurse Ministries and the International Parish Nurse Resource Center in St. Louis."
The next paragraph is the amusing one:
"Now the Deaconess movement in the United States has passed into history. On February 25, 2010, Sister Marie G. Lee, the last Evangelical Deaconess Sister in the United States, died in St. Louis."
This is a good example of the ignorance that can easily develop in any Christian denomination when its members forget, were not taught, or do not recognize the fact that the cumulative history of the Christian Church can exist outside of their own denomination!
[The rest of the article contains interesting information about the deceased deaconess and may be found at http://tiny.cc/vrlji]