Deaconesses were included in the official staff of the early Christians. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well.” (Romans 16:1, 2, RSV).
The work of the Deaconesses includes doing their part in caring for the sick, the needy, and unfortunate, and cooperating with the deacons in this work. They prepare the ordinance table for the Lord’s Supper, assist in the ordinance of foot washing, and maintain/provide the table linens, towels, etc., used in the celebration of ordinances.
Deaconesses provide a visible/supportive presence, as assigned, during Divine worship services; and assist during baptismal services, providing aid to the female candidates, and maintaining/providing baptismal robes (or equivalent) for all candidates.
It is an unwritten tradition for the deaconesses to have the responsibility of organizing hot meals for any church family that experiences a death or other tragedy. This may mean simply taking food to the home or, in some cases, the serving of an entire meal to family and guests after a funeral. This is an important aspect of a caring ministry in the congregation.
The Head Deaconess conducts regular department meetings, plans and arranges Deaconess assignments, and facilitates the training of Deaconesses-in-Training for the continued growth of the ministry.
Within the church organizational structure, the Culinary Arts Ministry, Funeral & Bereavement, Church Beautification, and the Wedding & Flower Coordinator function under the auspices of the Deaconess Department.
The primary responsibility of Church Beautification is to decorate and continue to enhance the church property aesthetically where it will represent a user friendly, comfortable, appealing environment for ministry. This work includes providing arts, crafts, and decorating items necessary for beautifying the church thematically during the holidays, and seeking and searching for better creative ways to beautify the house of God overall and year round.