First Baptist Church Of Lincoln Gardens Takes Historic Step In Ordaining Deaconesses

History was made at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens June 17 as 20 deaconesses were officially ordained as members of the church’s hierarchy.

In the past, deaconesses were seen largely as the church’s “auxiliary,” given the title simply because their husbands had been ordained deacons, FBCLG Senior Pastor DeForest Soaries said in an email announcing the event.

“However, as the work of the deaconess has been done in conjunction with the deacons including the service of communion and administration of baptism, it has become clear that the deaconess literally functions as a female deacon and not simply an “auxiliary” of the deacon ministry,” Soaries wrote in the email.

Soaries expounded on that thought during the service at the church.

“It is now time for us to recognize and affirm the hand of God, the spirit of God the presence of God and the will of God in the lives of those we call deaconess,” he said. “We consider it useful, efficacious and appropriate, to lay hands on these women who have served, to say to them for now until eternity your service will be recognized equal to the service of your husbands as ordained officers of this church.”

“It’s a matter of ecclesiastical integrity, it’s a matter of justice, and I believe it’s a matter of common sense,” Soaries said.

“So to these women who have served, and to those who served previously … on behalf of 81 years of history I offer you an apology for the years that we functioned in our immaturity and pray that God will use you to help us become the redemptive body of Christ that we are destined to be,” he said. “We thank you for your patience, we thank you for your service, we thank you for your humility and we thank you for your grace.”

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live streamed the ordination ceremony:




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