Sep 19, 2022 Print This Post

Seminary celebrates 20 years of deaconess formation

Special luncheon held for alumnae, students

Dr. Gillian Bond (left)and Deaconess Elizabeth Ahlman photo
Dr. Gillian Bond (left), director of Deaconess Studies, with 2007 alumna Deaconess Elizabeth Ahlman, following the luncheon celebration.

This year Concordia Seminary, St. Louis is marking the 20th year of its residential Deaconess Studies program.

As part of the anniversary celebration, alumnae gathered July 18 for a special luncheon commemorating the program that has been preparing women for service to the church as deaconesses for two decades.

Alumnae in attendance at the event, which was held on campus in Koburg Hall, included graduates from the beginning of the residential program to recent graduates. Several current residential deaconess students also joined the celebration.

“We are excited to celebrate such an important milestone for our program,” said Director of Deaconess Studies Dr. Gillian Bond. “It is a blessing and a joy for me personally to work with our deaconess students. Our Lord brings women to these studies with such a wide range of skill sets and life experiences, and I am always fascinated to see how He nurtures these varied gifts and then uses them in the different settings where He places our graduates to serve.”

Dean of Theological Research and Publication Dr. Erik Herrmann offered reflections on diaconal ministry during the luncheon. “Having a churchly office regularly set apart to help shape our impact on our communities is an extraordinary opportunity,” Herrmann said. “Imagine having someone to participate in deeper theological reflection on the church’s work of compassion, and someone to develop and implement new ways for the church to carry out this work. Who shall we call to publicly guide and nurture the church’s love? We don’t have to invent a new office or roster category for our church body. It already exists!”

Board of Regents Vice Chairman Dr. Tyler Arnold encouraged the women in their diaconal callings. “You are the Swiss army knife of the church, providing a broad scope of diaconal care within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS),” he said. “You are an instrument of the Holy Spirit, embodying Christ whenever you encounter hurting souls. You are so valuable and loved by our Lord. Don’t underestimate what God has called you to be. It is a blessed work and needed for our church. So, dear sisters, keep it up. Stay strong. Lean on each other. Be fed, because empty vessels cannot pour, and you have a lot of pouring to do.”

The program also included remarks from Deaconess Kim Sherwin and Chaplain Jennifer Wientge, who shared insights from the field. Campus Chaplain Rev. Paul Sieveking led the prayers.

Learn more about the Seminary’s Deaconess Studies programs, which include residential and distance learning options for women to become commissioned deaconesses in the LCMS.

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit