Q&A with Deaconess Tiffany Manor, Director of LCMS Life Ministry
Since becoming a deaconess in 2012, Tiffany Manor has served in a variety of ways, including in disability ministry and as a volunteer counselor at a pregnancy resource center. One of her favorite things about being a deaconess is walking alongside people during difficult moments and pointing them to the hope found only in Christ. Now, she’s using her skills to speak up and care for the most vulnerable as director of LCMS Life Ministry — a position she started in April 2020.
What led you to become a deaconess?
A: I was a parish administrator in Farmington Hills, Mich. One afternoon, I was in the church office by myself, while Pastor was out making visits. A man called and wanted desperately to talk to Pastor. His wife was in the middle of a miscarriage, and he was very upset. I couldn’t get ahold of Pastor. I wanted to care for the man, but I felt helpless not knowing what to say or do. About that time, I became aware of the distance deaconess program, and I realized having some theological training would prepare me to better serve God’s people.
Why is LCMS Life Ministry important?
A: We’re often asked, “Why does the Synod need to have Life Ministry?” What makes us unique is that we’re the church. There’s important work being done by others, and we’re better when we join our voices to advocate and work together in showing mercy. But as the church, we have unique gifts to share. We understand suffering and the theology of the cross. Christ suffered, bearing our sins so that we are reconciled to the Triune God, and He is present with us when we experience suffering in this world. In our sanctity-of-life efforts, we focus on Christ and the abundant life He came to bring. We want people to live the number of days that God has ordered for them from conception to natural death, and we want all people to come to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is our Savior.
What’s new in LCMS Life Ministry?
A: Involvement in the National March for Life has inspired more local involvement and advocacy in marches, life chains and prayer vigils. Also, we’ve got 70 Recognized Service Organizations that are engaged in life ministry.
We’re also working collaboratively on mental health needs. The 2019 Synod convention gave us a resolution to encourage mental health training, and the pandemic has only heightened the need. In recent months, we’ve put out some resources on suicide prevention with authors like the Rev. Peter Preus. The Synod’s newly formed mental health task force is examining what other resources are needed.
Abortion laws have been in the news a lot lately. What’s exciting about that?
A: 2021 has been a banner year for laws restricting abortion. Pro-life Americans are feeling very hopeful. It’s not an end to abortion, but anytime there’s a restriction, it slows down the process. Abortion providers pressure women to make decisions quickly. Whenever we can come alongside a woman and help her, that’s a blessing. Maybe the news can help us see that this is not an overwhelming tide; there are strides that can be made. The Holy Spirit is still working through His Word to transform hearts. “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). We should be encouraged as we look to the things that are unseen and eternal.
How can someone get involved?
A: Visit our new volunteer portal: lcms-onm.org. You’ll be able to find local opportunities for prayer vigils, trainings and more, as well as register for life marches being held around the country. We also want to hear about what resources are needed. Reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help.
Megan K. Mertz
Managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World and chief copy editor for LCMS Communications.