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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

As a deaconess of the Church of Scotland


A

pamphlet entitled _The Deaconess Institution and Training Home_ says: "Are there not many parts all over Scotland--mines, quarries, etc.--where the population is poor and hard-working? Would it not in such places be an advantage both to minister and people to have a Christian lady, trained, experienced, and devoted, to live and work among them? Or, which would be possible in every parish, would it not be a great advantage that in case of need--in a mining accident, an outbreak of sickness--a trained Christian nurse should be available during the emergency?"

The General Assembly provided that deaconesses should be solemnly inducted into their office at a religious service in church. It also provided "that along with the application for the admission of any person to the office of a deaconess there shall be submitted a certificate from a committee of the General Assembly intrusted with that duty stating that the candidate is qualified in respect of education, and that she has had seven years' experience in Christian work, or two years' training in the Deaconess Institution and Training Home." Also, "Before granting the application, the kirk session shall intimate to the presbytery their intention of doing so, unless objection be offered by the presbytery at its first meeting thereafter." On Sunday, December 9, 1888, the first deaconess was set apart to her duties. The kirk session was already in possession of the necessary certificates testifying

to her "character, education, experience, devotedness, and power to serve and co-operate with others." Due intimation had been made to the presbytery. The questions were put that were appointed by the General Assembly:

"Do you desire to be set apart as a deaconess, and as such to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the Church, which is his body?

"Do you promise, as a deaconess of the Church of Scotland, to work in connection with that Church, subject to its courts, and in particular to the kirk session of the parish in which you work?

"Do you humbly engage, in the strength and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master, faithfully and prayerfully to discharge the duties of this office?"

The lady who, by answering the above questions, received the sanction of the Church as one of its appointed officers was Lady Grisell Baillie, of Dryburgh Abbey. She writes to the author of this book: "I count it a great honor to be permitted to serve in the Church of my fathers, and I pray that I may be enabled faithfully and prayerfully to fulfill the duties to which I am called, and that it maybe for the glory of our God and Saviour that I am permitted to work in his vineyard."

Miss Davidson, who was temporary superintendent of the home, but who is now engaged in organizing branches of the Women's Guild throughout Scotland, and Miss Alice Maud Maxwell, the present superintendent of the home, have also been set apart to the same office. As has been said, "Each represents an old Scottish family, whose members have been distinguished for Christian and philanthropic labors;" and "each represents a different type of deaconess work." Lady Grisell Baillie is engaged in gentle ministrations among the people of her own home. Miss Davidson is at the service of every minister who desires aid in organizing women's work in his parish. And Miss Maxwell is at the training-home, leading a busy life in directing the class labors and missionary activities that center around it and in impressing her life and spirit upon a band of workers who are to further Christ's cause both at home and in the mission field.


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