History

 

Our History

Fellowship Deaconry Ministries has a rich history that shows the unmistakable hand of God working through His people in America. The Pietism Movement arose in the context of the devastation of Germany following the 30 Years War (1609 - 1637). Philipp Jakob Spener led this movement of individual devotion and piety that emphasized personal transformation through spiritual renewal and rebirth. The goal was a religion of the heart and not just of the intellect. In the late 19th century, a mighty Pietistic revival swept across Germany.

Pastor Theophil KrawielitzkiIn 1899, Pastor Theophil Krawielitzki and a group of fellow Lutheran pastors met in prayer together, and the leading of the Holy Spirit was evident in this hour of special grace and blessing. This meeting resulted in the pastors founding a new Deaconess Home in Vandsburg, Prussia, and a new order of Deaconesses was established founded on the principles of Spener's pietism.

By 1929, as the number of deaconesses and Deaconess Homes in Germany had increased, Sister Emilie Stede and Sister Toni Radmer responded to the call to come to America.They established a Deaconess Home in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, in 1933, and God's blessing was upon this new branch of ministry. Young women, saved through God’s grace, heard the call "to serve the living and true God".

The Sisters helped to meet the social and spiritual needs of German immigrants in North America. The Sisters found opportunities for private nursing, for distributing German "gospel tracts", and for leading neighborhood Bible studies. The Lord used and blessed these humble beginnings to grow a mighty gospel work among the German people in North America. God blessed the Tract-Mission work and outreach of the Fellowship Deaconry so mightily that hundreds of people were reached with the printed Word each week and hundreds more were saved through a personal faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

Sister Radmer and Sister StedeThese Tract Missions called for distribution of tracts by deaconesses and tract missionaries, gatherings for prayer, Bible study and Christian fellowship all on a weekly basis. Sunday School offered Biblical instruction for children, and the older youth participated in various organized activities. Evangelistic meetings were held throughout the winter months to win tract readers and friends to Christ. Numerous Tract Mission Stations flourished in New York City, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago as well as in Canada. By the 1940s these Tract Mission Stations became known as Evangelical Fellowship Chapels.

From the beginning, our Deaconess Home in Liberty Corner has welcomed young and old for times of vacation, relaxation and spiritual renewal. Hundreds of guests took advantage of these opportunities and were blessed, as they enjoyed hospitality, the teaching of God’s truth, and fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord. Camp Sunshine offered a wonderful summer program for children grounded in spiritual instruction and fun-filled activities. For adults, our summer Conference Weeks led to lives strengthened and refreshed through that peace of heart as believers acted upon the reality of the proclaimed Word of God. Attendance at a Conference Week has marked the turning point in many a wayward life.