Mr. Uher writes:
Many Episcopalians and Anglicans, present and former, still recall with great affection the Deaconesses in their lives. We recall some of them in their distinctive cap or distinctive cross. Some of us recall a Deaconess dressed like a nun in a voluminous black or grey habit. Today some will know them in a distinctive blue cassock with blue cincture. When the Episcopalian Church in the USA decided to ordain women to the diaconate, the Deaconesses all but disappeared. Since 2002 the Order of Deaconesses has been established canonically among the Reformed Episcopalians where the Deaconesses provide many forms of help including performing baptisms when no deacon or priest is available. Deaconesses continue to serve in other parts of the Anglican Communion. The duties of the Deaconess in the various Anglican Churches did indeed vary, but behind all interpretations was a desire for the Deaconess to be in the local church as St. Phoebe was in Sacred Scripture, an idea at the heart of the setting apart of Deaconess Elizabeth Catherine Ferard in the Church of England as the first Deaconess of that Church. Deaconess Isabella Gilmore in the Diocese of Rochester, England explored a different model for the life of the Deaconess that was very influential. And among the many Deaconesses, the first African-American Deaconess in the state of Georgia in the USA is venerated as one of sainted memory: Deaconess Anna E.B. Alexander...Please visit his site and enjoy not only the history by the photos of notable women who dedicated their lives to the service of Christ and his followers.