Kerridge, Jessie, MBE

Co-founder of the Deaconess Order in the West Indies. Born in Cambridge, she trained first as a teacher and then as a deaconess. In 1927 she and Muriel Ellis (who had grown up in Trinidad) answered a call for two deaconesses to work in Jamaica. They established Deaconess House and through both the Girls' League and the Guide Movement began trainingwomen for leadership. In 1938 she recommended the establishment of Deaconess Houses in all the Caribbean islands. She became a member of staff at Caenwood Theological College, where West Indian deaconesses were trained alongside ministerial candidates.

Following her retirement in 1963, she returned to live in London and continued a valuable ministry among young people from the Caribbean who had come to live in Britain. She served on many committees in the Overseas Division and travelled extensively as an advocate for the Church in the Caribbean, returning there on several occasions as an honoured guest, her last visit celebrating her 90th birthday. Her memories were recorded in a book for which she chose a title typical of her: Other people did the work. The Jamaican government awarded her an MBE in recognition of her pioneering work for women in the Caribbean.

  • B. Baynes, Other People Did the Work (1995)