A laywoman who, in response to God's call and on recommendation by the General Board of Global Ministries, is commissioned by a bishop to share faith in Jesus Christ through ministries of love, justice and service. Deaconesses serve the church in any capacity not requiring full clergy rights. They are related to the General Board of Global Ministries. A lifetime commitment to mission is presumed.
Source: Sharing God's Gifts Glossary of United Methodist Terms