MS Conference Lay Women Commissioned as Deaconess This Month


By Lou Ann Staggs

Two leading lay women of the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church will be

commissioned as deaconesses this month at United Methodist Women's Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky.


The office of deaconess is a lay office for women who feel called by God to be in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church for engagement with a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice and service. Together they form a covenant community that is rooted in Scripture, informed by history, driven by mission, ecumenical in scope and global in outreach. The lay equivalent for men is home missioner.


The deaconess and home missioner call to ministries of love, justice and service is defined in Paragraph 1314.1 of The United Methodist Book of Discipline, which states:  


"Deaconesses and home missioners function through diverse forms of service directed toward the world to

make Jesus Christ known in the fullness of his ministry and mission, which mandate that his followers:

  1. Alleviate suffering;
  2. Eradicate causes of injustice and all that robs life of dignity and worth;
  3. Facilitate the development of full human potential; and
  4. Share in building global community through the church universal."

Cheryl Farr and Erie Stuckett are the two women who felt the call of God to pursue a specific relationship in mission to The United Methodist Church. After submitting the completed application, they were invited to a discernment event which is a long weekend filled with stories and educational information on ways deaconesses and home missioners are working in the world through the United Methodist connection.


At this point, Farr and Stuckett were invited into the program and completed the requirements which included many hours of educational work through one of the United Methodist seminaries, a psychological exam and

Cheryl Farr 

other work. They will be commissioned into the office and introduced to this annual conference as full-time, trained Christian service workers.


Farr is the wife of Rev. Clay Farr and the mother of Travis and Michael. She designs websites for churches and individuals (Farr Out Designs) and is the web designer and manager for the New Albany District Office, Mississippi Conference United Methodist Women and Mississippi Conference Mission link,


Erie Stuckett 

Born in Greenville, Mississippi, Erie Stuckett received her B.A. in Sociology from Mississippi Valley State University. She retired as director of the Washington County Department of Human Services in 2002, after 32 years of service, but her retirement did not last long. In 2007 she received the opportunity to serve her church and the children of her community in the full-time volunteer role as leader of the Revels United Methodist Church After School Program. She is married, has three grown children and six wonderful grandchildren.  


Farr and Stuckett will live out their calling and use their training in the current positions they have but with a much broader understanding of the United Methodist Missional relationship.