Lucy Rider Meyer

Lucy Rider Meyer (1849-1922), a social worker and educator, was an early leader in the deaconess movement in the Methodist church. She earned  a medical degree and was one of the first women professors in the United States when she began teaching chemistry at McKendree College.  She also taught Sunday school in her local Methodist Episcopal Church, which led her to study the Bible closely and introduced her to the deaconess movement in Europe. She became concerned that there was no school that trained women for Christian leadership in the United States. After an intense public speaking and fundraising campaign, she opened the Chicago Training School for City, Home and Foreign Mission (CTS) in 1885. Three years later the 1888 General Conference created the licensed ministry of deaconesses for women called to service in the community. Meyer remained  head of the school for 32 years;  at her retirement, it was estimated that 3,600 social workers in 24 countries had graduated from her programs.  CTS was one of the schools that later merged  to create what is today Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  In addition to her groundbreaking educational work, Meyer was an accomplished public speaker, hymn writer and author.


Want to know more?

Home page for  ChildServ, an organization she founded in 1894

Her hymns, as listed in the cyber hymnal                     

A history of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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