Monday, November 23, 2015

Time for Hobbies and Thanksgiving

Since reading, writing, and editing are sort of a hobby/passion/obsession, I've been pleased to have more than the usual amount of time to do these things lately. The reason, though a somewhat painful one, is that on Sept. 12, 2015, I fell backward off of a stage and sustained several fractured bones in my right foot.

Since surgery on Sept. 24 things have gone well. Physical Therapy started two weeks ago. One more surgery early in December will be the last, and then another period of some weeks of recovery.

I decided from the start that if Martin Luther could translate the Bible into the German language while secluded at Wartburg Castle, I could likewise be somewhat productive while just sitting around with my foot elevated above my knee! This decision has helped me get through many a long day, though I'll admit to cat-napping during the process.

In this week of Thanksgiving, I am grateful to God for doctors, nurses, surgeons, medicine, a loving and caring family, a loving and caring church, a loving and caring sisterhood of deaconesses in Concordia Deaconess Conference, and of course, the salvation that God has so freely given to us!

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, in Christ!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Life and Words of Deaconess Clara Strehlow

One of my recent joys was to finish the biography of Deaconess Clara Elsa Flora Strehlow (1895-1985).

My first acquaintance with Clara was sometime during the early months of 1979, when we were both involved in campaigning for a deaconess training program within The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Clara had a calm voice and seldom spoke, but when she did have something to say, everyone listened. We regarded her as a mentor who gave sage advice gleaned from a life of genuine diaconal service in the Lord’s name.

Her experience was broad. She cared for orphans, organized Sunday Schools, worked at a home for the deaf, make countless home visits in the community, and starting in 1958, served as the first housemother of Deaconess Hall at Valparaiso University.

Here was a woman who had seen it all in the Church. When we met she had been a deaconess for 52 years – a founding member of the Lutheran Deaconess Conference of the Synodical Conference at the beginning of her career – and a founding member of Concordia Deaconess Conference – Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the twilight of her career.

Sources for this biography include pieces written by Clara herself; her family’s oral history; the memories of her friends; and other articles and common domain historical documents. Some great photos add a fun dimension to the text. If you are looking for an easy and inspirational read - about how one dedicated deaconess lived her life in service to the Lord in her neighbors - this could be the book for you!  It's available from Lutheran Legacy Publishing, at

Saturday, November 14, 2015

DOXOLOGY for Deaconesses

The first "DOXOLOGY for Deaconesses" - specifically for women who serve as deaconesses in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod - took place at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, October 29-31, 2015.

In the Lutheran church, DOXOLOGY usually refers to a liturgical expression of praise to God.  DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel helps professional church workers acquire and improve the skills they need to provide effective spiritual care in their vocations. [Being blessed with an increased capability to care for our neighbors indeed gives cause to express praise to God!]

The conference presentations covered a variety of engaging topics, for example, "Putting the Best Construction on Everything;" "Christians after Christendom;" "Diaconal Service and the Care/Cure of Souls;" "Depression, Dysfunction and Despair: Clinical Realities;" "Spiritual Responses to Discouragement;" "Ethics and Caring;" "The Problem of Suffering;" "The Silent Epidemic: Compassion Fatigue." One can see, just from these titles, that the 35 attendees received much food for thought, as well as renewed encouragement and dedication to the task of addressing the needs of those whom they serve.

For more information about DOXOLOGY and the study retreats they offer, please see

Friday, November 13, 2015

Back again - at Last!

Dear friends of Deaconess History!

I'm so pleased to be back in the blogging world after being too long away.  There are a basket full of reasons, including "human error" regarding passwords.  Thanks to my webmaster mentor, this hopefully won't happen again!  Stay tuned for some updates, now that I'm back on track with the software!