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Banks, Eliza Jane ('Sister Jeanie')

The daughter of Matthew Banks (1798-1878; e.m. 1826), a missionary in the West Indies, she served as a Sister with Peter Thompson in East London for eight years before transferring to the Wesley Deaconess Order in 1896. She was the first to be designated by T.B. Stephenson as a 'Deaconess Evangelist'. She concentrated on evangelistic work, preaching and conducting many very successful missions throughout England and from Shetland to Northern Ireland. Her nursing experience proved a great advantage in her visiting homes. In 1912 she became the first Wesley Deaconess to superannuate. She died on 11 January 1932.


'Small in stature - a "shrimp" between two stalwart fishermen, as she described herself - but with every feature and action indicative of life and energy, she at once impressed her hearers with her personality On Sundays she preached twice to crowded congregations, nearly all of whom were men, and on other days of the week tended to the injuries of the bodies of the much-exposed fishermen and girls. "The doctor woman's" popularity there is consequently great.'

Methodist Times, quoted in Highways and Hedges, 1899 p.138


  • E.D. Graham in R. Sykes, Beyond the Boundaries (Oxford, 1998) pp.94-102
  • E.D. Graham, Saved to Serve: the story of the Wesley Deaconess Order 1890-1978 (2002) pp.57-64

Entry written by: EDG
Category: Person

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