The ministry of deaconesses is an international movement that began in the 19th century to foster the Christian ministry of women to the sick and needy. Florence Nightingale was particularly influential in bringing the deaconess movement from Germany, where the diaconate of women had been revived by Pastor Theodore Fliedner, to England.
The Deaconesses in Sydney date back to 1891, when it was known as the Church of England Deaconess Institution. The Ministry of the Deaconesses in Sydney was encouraged by Mrs Martha Archdall (nee Karow), who was familiar with the German model and, with her husband and the support of the Church of England Sydney Diocesan Synod, founded The Church of England Deaconess Institution Sydney on 17 August 1891. Deaconess House, on the grounds of Sydney University in Newtown, is now Mary Andrews College at St Andrews House.
The Deaconesses operated schools at Balmain, Lewisham, Bega and Echuca (1901-1911) and ran a depot for recycled clothing. They also established the first Anglican Christian hospitals, which were known as the Homes of Peace/Hope Healthcare (1907-2008). Starting with a hospice called 'Eversleigh', the Deaconesses took over Neringah and Greenwich Hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s and added Graythwaite Nursing Home in 1980. In 1994 these Homes of Peace were incorporated and renamed Hope Healthcare, adding Braeside Hospital and the Northern Beaches Palliative Care Service. They were acquired by Hammond Care in June 2008.
The Deaconesses operated Hilsyde Lodge (1978-2003) at Camden, a retreat for Christian women workers. It continues to train young women in Christian ministry through Mary Andrews College at St Andrews House and at Moore Theological College and operates The Next Phase Ministries Committee, which trains and ministers to seniors and the aged.
19 September 2013
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/ref/NE01037
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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