LCMS deaconesses are women who are professional church-workers, trained to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a ministry of works of mercy, spiritual care, and teaching the Christian faith. "Deaconess," from the Greek word diakonos, means "servant." Phoebe, named in Rom. 16:1-2, was a helper to Paul and others. She often is considered the first deaconess. Because of the strong historic and ongoing human care component in deaconess ministry, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod's Deaconess Ministry works closely with LCMS deaconesses across the world.


Today deaconesses serve primarily in three settings:

  • Missions—both foreign and domestic;
  • Congregations—teaching, visiting the sick and imprisoned, or serving in family or other caring ministry; and
  • Institutions—serving as chaplains in hospitals, prisons, retirement communities, and facilities that care for people with developmental disabilities. In order for a deaconess to be endorsed as an LCMS institutional chaplain, she first must complete a master's degree in theology along with four units of clinical pastoral education (CPE). As an institutional chaplain, a deaconess provides valuable spiritual care to those she encounters, complementing the Word and Sacrament ministry of an ordained pastor.

For more information, contact:

Deaconess Grace Rao
Deaconess Ministries
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
888-843-5267 or e-mail:  

The Deaconess program at Concordia Theological Seminary provides competent women with a rigorous theological education at the master's level. This training equips women for professional service in the church in such areas as counseling, social ministry, visitation of the sick and dying, and teaching the faith under the direction of the pastoral office.


The Ohio District is embarking on an ambitious effort to gather the feedback from 100% of our church workers and their spouses. We were chosen as one of three districts to pilot the Church Worker Family Needs Assessment. The results will be used by the district to better serve all of our church workers. The survey is completely anonymous as you won't be asked to share any contact information. It will take approximately 25-30 minutes and you can save it and come back to it if needed. We strongly encourage you to fill out the survey and invite you to share the web address with your spouse so they can complete it as well.

If you have questions, please email the district office.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE SURVEY and invite your spouse by copying this link.


The District President’s Commission for Ministerial Health is to provide wellness resources and referral for professional church workers in the Ohio District.


Care Partners serve the LCMS Ohio District through confidential listening and on-going encouragement they provide to those who seek it. Care Partners provide a good first contact for those struggling with difficult life events; for those who just need a listening ear; for those who need direction on how to take the first step down a new path.

Confidentiality is the main component of this service; a unique firewall exists between the Care Partner and the District. Your conversations and concerns remain private.



Other Helpful and Downloadable Ministerial Health Resources

  • PALS (Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support)

Helping pastors and their wives in the transition from seminary to congregation. Website: www.lcms.org/PALS (Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support)

  • Grace Place

Offers various programs and retreats to minister to Church workers and their families.  Contact the Program Director at:  314.580.4608 or Grace Place Programs at www.graceplacewellness.org

  • Shepherds Canyon Retreat

Provides a week-long confidential counseling retreat to full-time Lutheran church workers who are in the midst of burnout, stress, depression, compassion fatigue, conflicts of all kinds and, sometimes, moral failures. Clients received 30 hours of individual, couples, and group counseling. Phone:  800/783-3079, website:  www.ShepherdsCanyonRetreat.com

  • Doxology

An innovative program of advanced study retreats to strengthen pastors for the task of faithfully shepherding the souls entrusted to their care. This program provides pastors with a unique study and renewal experience, rooted in spiritual care and informed by contemporary Christian psychology. Phone:  262/253-1888, website: www.doxology.us

  •  Concordia Plan Services Ministerial Care

Confidential source for LCMS pastors and families for personal/professional support, family and parenting support, self-service on-line resources and more.  Ohio District LCMS Pastoral Support Contact: http://www.concordiaplans.org/ministry-resources/ministerial-care.html

  •  Serving Church Workers

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod members care about pastors, teachers and other church workers who teach us about Jesus and dedicate their lives to sharing God's love. SERVING CHURCH WORKERS





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