The Free Methodist Deaconess Order Part Two

The 1907 Free Methodist General Conference was largely supportive of establishing a deaconess order, and unlike women’s ordination, the idea was met with little backlash from the more conservative leaders of the denomination. However, there was one point contention– should the Free Methodist deaconess have a required uniform? Some Free Methodists worried a uniform would be perceived by the public as a pro-Catholic endorsement and seen as too similar to the habit worn by nuns.[i] Yet, supporters of a uniform argued that by requiring deaconesses to wear a specific outfit or certain colors, the public would be able to easily … Continue reading The Free Methodist Deaconess Order Part Two

The History of the Free Methodist Deaconess Order Part One

One of the most under-researched areas of Free Methodist women’s history is the Free Methodist Deaconess Order. I have not been able to confirm an end date for the order, but it was approved by the 1907 General Conference and was in place well into the late twentieth-century (if anyone knows when the order ended I would love to hear from you). Established as a way to counter what was seen as a rising Catholic threat, the Free Methodist Church and other Protestant denominations began deaconess orders in the mid to late ninteenth century to provide a range of social … Continue reading The History of the Free Methodist Deaconess Order Part One