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Today the church remembers Harriet Bedell, Deaconess and Missionary, 1969.Harriet Bedell was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1875. She served as a teacher for several years, before hearing a missionary speak about the work and the needs of missions. Inspired, she applied and was accepted by the New York Training School for Deaconesses in 1909. Bedell received instruction there not only in church matters, but in hygiene, teaching, and nursing. After training, she was sent to Oklahoma, where she cared for the Cheyenne people. Bedell helped to organize basic care, and she offered religious instruction, among many other kinds of service. Hearing of her abilities, a bishop requested that she travel to Alaska to work with people in remote Stevens Village. In Alaska, in 1922, she was made a deaconess at last. As funds became scarce, Bedell traveled to New York to raise funds in 1931. She never returned to Alaska. Learning of the terrible living conditions of the Seminole people in Florida, Bedell went to serve there in 1932. She lived and worked with the people, rather than maintaining the distance of a teacher. She helped to revive nearly extinct craft-making skills, the sales of which helped to fund improvements in living conditions. We thank you, O God, for the work of Harriet Bedell and all those who serve in your Name, seeking to establish justice and dignity for your people. Amen.
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Holy God, you chose your faithful servant Harriett Bedell to exercise the ministry of deaconess and to be a missionary among indigenous peoples: Fill us with compassion and respect for all people, and empower us for the work of ministry throughout the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.