Throughout the 20th century lay women in the Episcopal Church, often acting in isolation and without institutional support, offered a powerful witness of leadership, vocation, and theological resilience. Deeper Joy studies groups of women with similar callings yet located in diverse settings throughout church and society such as schools, hospitals, and other civic institutions. The topics presented here reflect new historical perspectives and unexplored primary materials, including interviews that bear on all women's ministries, hence addressing neglected and important aspects of life in the American church.
After an introductory chapter on women and vocation, five major sections will explore lay women's vocations through the lenses of community life, education, mission, civic life, and working for change from within the Episcopal Church. Topics include Anglican sisterhoods, the Companions of the Holy Cross, the deaconess movement, women of the New Deal, women in foreign missions, the settlement house movement, and women in education. The views of African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women are all represented. A concluding chapter addresses future directions for leadership and service.