Methodist Deaconess Order
Early Days of the Movement
In Maori Districts
Maori Welfare Centres
Our Children's Homes
List of Deaconesses and Sisters
It is a privilege to be writing the Foreword for this publication which is being produced for the Jubilee Celebrations that commemorate the splendid history of Methodist Deaconess work in New Zealand and the establishment of our Deaconess Institution in Christchurch Actually the consecrated work of our deaconesses began some years before the turn of the present century and so the record is even more notable.
Though I send these few words forward as President of the Conference of our Church, it is as a former Chairman and member of the Deaconess Board that I can more personally write of the devotion and service of so many who down the years have had the administrative responsibility of Deaconess training. Further, the shining witness of a great number of our deaconesses at home and abroad surely adds lustre to our Deaconess Institution.
The eager hope of a great many in the Church looks forward to the day when there will be some Centre of Training for Christian Lay Workers and also ampler facilities for our deaconess trainees. Whatever may be realised in these regards, it is nevertheless true that our beloved Church rejoices in the present opportunities that belong to it of preparing young women with a sense of call to follow a life of dedicated service.
The present Jubilee Celebrations provide occasion to look back and to note that never before in the history of the world has there been such an amazing period of scientific and technological advance as during the last fifty years. In the field of human relations also there have been striking changes. If the last century has seen the rise of "The Forgotten Man" and a recognition of his rights and privileges, it can be said equally significantly that the last half-century has shown us the emergence of "The Forgotten Woman" whose modern advance in all fields has been such a striking one. It is in this latter period that the history of our Deaconess Institution in New Zealand has been cast.
The New Testament, to go no further back, establishes the place of women in the Church, and who would fail to be impressed by the subsequent record of illustrious women in Christian History. Today it seems natural in our ecumenical age increasingly to bow women into the highest" places as their recognized right.
And so, as new doors of effective opportunity open up for the diversified ministries of women in the Church of God, let us be profoundly thankful for what our Church has been able to do in the field of deaconess service, and let us look forward with consecrated hope and prayerfulness for the extension of such spheres of Christian witness in the Name of Him Who loved the Church and gave Himself for the Church.
President of the Conference of the Methodist Church of New Zealand,
7th February, 1957.