Deaconess Order and Deaconess Training Centre
The term Deaconess comes from the Greek word "diakonia" which can be defined as service or ministering.
From as early as 1878 missionary sisters have served the Methodist Church in Fiji, teaching in schools, caring for orphans, providing medical and nursing care and engaging in evangelistic, pastoral and social and community work.
According to the World Federation of Diaconal Associations and Diaconal Communities,
As the Church celebrates its Golden Jubilee, the Deaconess Training Centre and Deaconess Order is at a crossroads and is reflecting on its relevance and rethinking its mission. The time has come for the Vada ni Turaga – “Servants” or “Messangers of the Lord” to begin to make a difference in new areas of the community through specialised ministries such as children’s ministry, providing care for the aged and hospital ministry. In recent years final-year student deaconesses have written a project paper, from which they must develop in to a workshop and implement during their probationary period. The issues such as child abuse, violence against women, poverty and other current issues, including the impact of the media in society are point the way for the re-envisioning of the role of the Deaconess order.
A brief History of the Deaconess Order
According to the late Miss Campbell, in 1953 the Fijian Synod of the Methodist Church of Australasia appointed the first Deaconess Committee because all Fijian annual meetings had recommended to the Synod the establishment of a Deaconess Order.
In around 1966, three women, Miss Mulya Dharanji, Sister Ethel Brent and Mrs Gladys Campbell bought the property at Moala Street, especially for the purpose of setting up a Deaconess Training Centre. A multiracial group of volunteers along with the first four deaconess students prepared the house for occupation and on February 10th, 1967, classes began for the student deaconesses.
Writing in the late 1980’s Miss Campbell, who died in 2009 aged 85, stated that, “the church has not yet had a vision of the potential of deaconesses for innovative and outreach work,”adding that in other countries, it was normal for some deaconesses to be working in appointments outside the church, with church approval.
She went on to say that, “it is to the areas of greatest need in the community, and to the guidance of the Spirit, that the deaconess, the (Deaconess) Committee and the Church should look to.”
Contact the Deaconess Order:
29 Moala Street, Samabula, Suva
TELEPHONE : (679) 3382641
Administrator -Deaconess Meresiana Kuricava
MOBILE : 9273117
GPO BOX 3757, Samabula, Suva, FIJI
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