Living the Legacy: The Continuing Journey of Women in Mission
Our Roots | Youth Missioners | The Challenges | Women in Church Structures | The Deaconess Office
Fight Against Racism | Telling the Mission Story | Women's Division | Assemblies and Quadrennial Conventions
The Continuing Journey
For more than a century, women in the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren traditions have led a struggle for human rights and social justice. The generation of women who founded the early missionary societies developed powerful networks and organizational structures to help women attain full participation in the life of the church and society.
In the early years of the women’s mission organizations, the focus was on sending missionaries and helping to change the lives of women and girls in foreign lands. They incorporated the values of home and family into public life, as they addressed issues of poverty, child labor, immigration, migrant labor, family life, racial discrimination, full clergy rights for women, and many other social ills of the day..
Many problems faced by the women at the turn of the century have reemerged in our own time with a new and demanding urgency: new waves of immigration, homelessness, racial divisions, threats to the environment, substance abuse and addiction, lack of affordable health care, concerns for the well-being of children and the elderly, public education, questions about women’s roles in society, and world peace.
Because of the faithfulness and courage of the millions of women who prayed, planned, organized, marched, petitioned, labored, and supported the work of the early missionary societies, the lives of countless individuals, especially women and children, have been irrevocably changed. Women, children and youth in our generation, and the ones that will follow us, are living the legacy of the women’s missionary movement of the 19th century.
We have much to be proud of and a great deal to celebrate as we continue the journey begun almost 150 years ago by our faithful and courageous foremothers.
From These Roots
United Methodist Womenare inheritors of the vision and toil of women’s missionary societies of eight (8) denominations.
1784-1939: Methodist Episcopal Church (M.E.)
1869 The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society is formed in Boston, MA at the Tremont Methodist Episcopal Church. Isabella Thoburn and Clara Swain leave for India in November, 1869 as the Society’s first missionaries.
1880 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society is organized and Lucy Webb Hayes is elected president. Ten years later, 1890, the Society is recognized by the church’s General Conference.
1904 Ladies Aid Societies, as old as American Methodism, are officially recognized in the 1904 M.E. Discipline, although there is never an official denominational agency.
1921 Wesleyan Service Guild is organized for women employed outside the home
1829-1939: Methodist Protestant Church
1879 The women of the Methodist Protestant Church organize their Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society in Pittsburgh, PA.
1893 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society is organized.
1844-1939: Methodist Episcopal Church, South (M.E. Church, South)
1878 Women in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South organize the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of their church and are given General Conference recognition. Lochie Rankin goes to China as their first missionary.
1890 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society is organized.
1910 The Woman’s Societies of the M. E. Church, South are joined under one Woman’s Missionary Council and made part of the general missionary organization of the church. Belle Harris Bennett is elected president and serves until 1922.
1920 Carrie Johnson is selected to head a standing committee of the Woman’s Missionary Council to study the race question and develop ways for black and white women to work together, a task she continues until her death in 1929.
1930 The Council sends Mrs. B. W. Lipscomb to organize women of two Spanish-speaking conferences (Texas-Mexico and Western Mexico) Also in 1930, the Bureau of Social Services of the Woman’s Missionary Council becomes the Bureau of Christian Social Relations with commissions on industrial relations, interracial cooperation, and rural development under the leadership of Bertha Newell.
1800-1946: United Brethren in Christ (U.B.)
1875 The Woman’s Missionary Association is organized. In 1877, Emily Beekin is sent to Sierra Leone as the Association’s first missionary; and the association is given General Conference recognition.
1909 The Woman’s Missionary Association becomes part of the General Board of Missions. Women gain wider and more influential responsibilities as a result.
1803-1922: Evangelical Association and United Evangelical Church (U.E.)
1922-1946: Evangelical Church
1884 Women of the Evangelical Association organize the Woman’s Missionary Society.
1891 Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society is created
1922 The United Evangelical Church and the Evangelical Association reunite to form The Evangelical Church. This union resulted in the organization of The Woman’s Missionary Society of The Evangelical Church.
1944 The Evangelical Church organizes the Christian Service Guild for employed women.
1939-1968: The Methodist Church
1939 The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church merge to form The Methodist Church. The various women’s home and foreign missionary societies and other women’s groups of the three uniting churches are joined and become the Woman’s Society of Christian Service. The Wesleyan Service Guild remains a separate organization.
The Methodist Uniting Conference created the Central Jurisdiction, a segregated racial jurisdiction for black members of the denomination that covered two-thirds of the nation.
As a result of this action, The Woman’s Society of Christian Service, Central Jurisdiction is formed.
1964 The 1964 General Conference imposed an organizational structure for the Woman’s Division and the Board of Missions that resulted in the transfer of administration of much of the division’s mission program to other divisions of the board. A written document, The Agreements of ‘64, guaranteeing certain provisions was adopted by the Division and the Board of Missions.
1946-1968: Evangelical United Brethren Church (E.U.B.)
1946 The Evangelical United Brethren Church is formed from the merger of The Evangelical Church and the United Brethren in Christ. With the formation of the E. U. B. Church, the women’s organizations merge to become the Women’s Society of World Service. The Christian Service Guild remains a separate entity until 1958.
1968-to Present: The United Methodist Church (U.M.)
1968 The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren merge to form The United Methodist Church. The women’s organizations of the two denominations are merged in the new United Methodist Church under the names Women’s Society of Christian Service and Wesleyan Service Guild. Administrative responsibility assigned to the Women’s Division of the Board of Missions
1972 The Women’s organizations in The United Methodist Church merge to form one inclusive organization with the name, "United Methodist Women." The 1972 General Conference ratifies the formation of United Methodist Women, and the "Agreements of ‘64 " in all essentials are preserved.
Women in the early days of missionary societies saw mission education and training of children and youth as a means for developing the next generation of missioners. Young children and youth groups participated in mission study and contributed financially to both home and foreign mission projects. Mission and ministry with children and youth continues today throughUnited Methodist Women.
1870-1930: The Methodist Episcopal Church, South
1870 Women in the M.E. Church, South began early enlisting children and youth and in 1870 in Greensboro, NC, Mrs. Frances Weber Bumpass organized the first juvenile society. By 1883 there were 279 juvenile societies in the church. They had a variety of names including: God’s Little Workers, Palmetto Leaves, Busy Bees, and Rosebud Missionary Society.
1930 By 1930, all mission education was done through the church school.
1873-1930: The Methodist Episcopal Church
1873 The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society started its first Juvenile Missionary Society. In 1895 the name was changed to Young Women’s Societies. In 1891 the Little Light Bearers bands were organized for children.
I882 In the Home Missionary Society, Lucy Webb Hayes organized the first Mission Band for six to 16-year-olds. In 1886, Mrs. W. A. Ingham, Secretary of the Bureau for Young People’s Work, started Mission Circles for girls over 16. In 1903 Queen Esther Circles were formed, and Young Woman’s Auxiliaries were established on college campuses.
The very young were not to be left out and so in 1886, Mother’s Jewels, bands for children under one year, were founded.
1875-1913: The United Brethren in Christ
1875 A Department of Young Women was set up by Mrs. T. N. Sowers in 1875. Four years later, 1879, Mrs. G. P. Macklin initiated Gleaners Bands for children in the U.B. Church. By 1883 the Young Women’s Bands had a Constitution and in 1889 they were asked to support two teachers in Africa and help support one teacher in China. In 1913 these societies became the Otterbein Guild.
1882-1919: Methodist Protestant Church
1882 At the third Annual Meeting of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society in Cambridge, OH, the suggestion was made that the young women of the church be organized into a society to be known as a "Reserve Corp." In 1919 Mrs. J. Ray Stanton became the National Secretary of Young People’s Work. Ten years later, children from birth to five years of age were included in a band known as "Precious Jewels." Their special giving was the Children’s Day Offering.
1889-1944: The United Evangelical Church
1889 Women of the United Evangelical Church established Junior Missionary Societies. In 1911 these junior societies were changed to Young People’s Missionary Circles. In 1944, a Christian Service Guild was added. The mission bands for children were called Little Heralds.
1940-1964: The Methodist Church
1940 Mission Bands and youth societies and Queen Esther Circles joined locally, and many formed World Friendship Groups of Girls. Also in 1940, Miss Ruby Van Hooser became the first Secretary of Children’s Work of the Board of Missions and Church Extension.
1964 Prior to the restructuring of the Board of Missions, the Woman’s Division had provided mission education for children and youth. In 1964, the Division was relieved of that specific assignment in the church.
1988-2002: The United Methodist Church
1988 Women’s Division, in cooperation with the Children’s Defense Fund, launches the Campaign For Children: Phase I, 1988-1993. The campaign continued with Phase II, "Making the World Safe for Children and Youth in the 21st Century," 1993-2001. Phase III, "Public School Education," was launched in 2002.
1998 Women’s Division adopts guidelines for the formation of teen women and college/university women units of United Methodist Women.
2000 A National Gathering of Teens and College/University Women was held December 28-31, 2000 in St. Charles, Illinois. The theme was "Young Woman, Rise Up!."
The Challenges of Mission
Without the woman’s mission organization in the church, the work of mission would not have had such strong support spiritually or financially. The women who guided the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Societies were firmly united in devotion to a task they believed to be of supreme importance to the church, the community and to the world.
1869-2002: The International Scene
1869 The desire of women in the various missionary societies to have a special part in the missionary work of the church grew rapidly during the early years of the organizations. They delighted in the fact that they could raise funds, manage administrative details, train, and deploy missionaries to foreign lands. Their efforts were far reaching. Missionaries were sent to India (1869); China (1871); Mexico, South America and Bulgaria (1874); Sierra Leone (1875); Japan (1876); Italy (1877); Malaysia (1887), Korea (1888); and the Philippines (1903).
1900 Upon arrival in the countries assigned, women missionaries founded schools and orphanages for girls and boys; established medical clinics; taught English as a second language; worked with women on health issues; and supported the work of Bible women. As needs of women and children were identified, more women were trained and sent into the mission field. Educational institutions were established in Brazil, West Africa, and Central Zaire.
1964 In 1964 all mission administration was placed under the work of the World and National Divisions. Woman’s Division would continue to help finance the work with funds going to National and World Divisions. Woman’s Division retained ownership of its properties.
1992 The Joint Committee on International Ministries with Women, Children and Youth is officially organized at the Annual Meeting in 1992. This committee was replaced, in 1996, with the Committee on International Ministries with Women, Children and Youth.
2000 In 2000, a Bible Women’s Pilot Training Project took place in Sabah, Malaysia, in November, with fifty women representing eight different language groups in attendance.
On October 10, 2000, the Women’s Division and Mission Personnel Unit of the General Board of Global Ministries commissioned a pilot group of nine regional missionaries
A Women’s Division sponsored consultation with leaders from nine colleges and universities, outside the United States, funded by the Women’s Division or for whom the Division holds permanent funds was held in Phoenix, Arizona in November 2000.
1880-2002: The Domestic Scene
1880 Women advocates for mission in the United States took the lead in organizing home missionary societies throughout the nation. The issues that women felt needed to be addresses included, help for freed black people in the South; Christian teaching for the Mexican people of New Mexico; ministry to Mormon women suffering from a system of polygamy; attention to the injustices experienced by Native Americans; and aid to Chinese women immigrants. The societies believed the key to improving the lives of people was through education.
1885 The first school established by the Society of the M.E. Church, was that of Haven Industrial School in Savannah, Georgia in 1885. By 1938 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society had established 20 institutions offering some form of academic work.
1888 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society, M.E. Church, established an Immigrant Girls Home in New York to meet the needs of immigrant women. On October 17, 1982 Alma Mathews House opened as a guest house and meeting place operated by the Women’s Division.
1890 Education for Hispanic children was offered at Harwood School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Frances DePauw School in Los Angeles and George O. Robinson School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1897 Sue Bennett Memorial School in London, Kentucky was built by the Woman’s Board of Home Missions of the M.E. Church, South. The school opened in 1897 with 80 students and grew to 408. The purpose of the school was to bring a Christian higher education to the mountain children of Southeastern Kentucky.
1900 Methodist community centers, urban centers, medical missions, and homes for children were also established in the early 1900s. These facilities offered recreation and health services for adults and youth in economically deprived communities.
1926 A joint venture of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society and the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church resulted in the reorganization of Bennett College into a four-year liberal arts college for women in Greensboro, NC.
1996 In March 1996, Women’s Division approved the creation of the Committee on National Ministries with Women, Children and Youth with responsibility for developing, determining and recommending policies regarding national mission institutions, many of which were founded by predecessor women’s mission organizations.
1940s: Influencing National Policy
The following legislative issues were among the primary concerns of the department of Christian Social Relations that called forth action in the Forties:
1940s Opposed a universal service act (1943) which included total conscription of woman power.
Opposed a post-war compulsory military training act for all male citizens who attained the age of 18 years (1943)
Supported an Emergency Fund for Federal Aid to Education (1943).
Urged continuously the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Continually opposed any use or distribution of alcoholic beverages.
Supported Anti-Poll Tax Legislation "as one step toward helping all groups exercise citizenship rights" (legislation to protect voting rights was eventually adopted in 1965).
Supported extension of Social Security coverage to domestic and agricultural workers.
Supported anti-lynching legislation which was never enacted into law during a 20-year-effort in Congress because of the southern filibuster.
Supported and worked for justice and equality in the administration and allocation of government services without discrimination based on "race, creed, or class."
Full Participation of Women in Church Structures
The creation of early missionary societies meant opportunities for women to be in service through the church as never before possible. As they worked to alleviate suffering and acquire legal status for women and children in the United States and in numerous other countries, they soon discovered that they were being denied the rights to full participation in church structures and on mission boards where policy decisions were being made.
1888-1946: Laywomen’s Participation in General Conferences
1888 Frances E. Willard, Mary Clarke Nind, Amanda C. Rippey, Angie F. Newman, and Elizabeth D. Van Kirk are elected delegates to the M. E. General Conference, but are denied seating
1892 Four women delegates are seated at the General Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church (laywomen Melissa M. Bonnett, Mrs. M. J. Morgan, and Mrs. A. E. Murphy; and clergy woman Eugenia St. John).
1893 First women delegates are seated at the General Conference of the U.B. (Mattie Brewer and Mrs. S. J. Staves).
1904 Women are given laity rights and admitted to the M.E. General Conference as delegates.
1910 The M.E. Church, South General Conference denies women laity rights.
1922 First women seated as delegates at General Conference of the M. E. Church, South (18 women lay delegates).
1946 Irene Haumersen and Mrs. Edward Stukenberg are the first two women delegates attending the General Conference of the Evangelical Church. They are also delegates to the joint E.U.B. General Conference immediately following.
1866-1980: Ordination and Full Clergy Rights for Women
1866 Helenor M. Davison, probably the first ordained woman in the Methodist tradition, was ordained a deacon by the Indiana Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church.
1869 Maggie Newton Van Cott is granted a local preacher’s license by the M.E. Church.
1880 Anna Oliver and Anna Howard Shaw are denied ordination by the M.E. Church General Conference. Shaw is then ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church. However, the Methodist Protestant General Conference rules, in 1884, that Ms. Shaw’s ordination is out of order.
1889 Ella Niswonger becomes the first woman ordained in the U.B. Church. In 1901 she became the first woman clergy delegate elected to a General Conference.
Eugenia St. John is ordained an elder by the Kansas Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church.
1894 Sarah Dickey is voted full clergy rights by the United Brethren in 1894.
1920 The local preacher’s license, the first step to ordination, is officially extended to women in the M.E. Book of Discipline.
1956 Women in The Methodist Church win full clergy rights; Maud Keister Jensen is the first woman to be granted such rights.
1968 Full clergy rights for women are affirmed by the new United Methodist Church.
1976 Ten women are elected as the first women clergy delegates to the United Methodist General Conference.
1980 Marjorie Matthews is the first woman to be elected bishop of The United Methodist Church. In 1984 Judith Craig and Leontine Kelly became the second and third women bishops of The United Methodist Church. Leontine Kelly was the first black woman bishop of the church.
2002 There are eleven (11) active women bishops in the United Methodist Church.
Church Recognition of the Deaconess Office
Deaconesses were central to the work of the early foreign and home missionary societies, though not always directly linked to them. As opportunities for missionary service for women grew, the need for trained laywomen became a priority for the office of deaconess work. The first generation of Methodist deaconesses served as pastor’s assistants, nurses, social workers, and educators, roles deemed gender appropriate by church and state.
1888 The 1888 General Conference of the M..E. Church legislated in favor of the Office of Deaconess calling for the creation of Conference Deaconess Boards to oversee the work. This legislation opened an ecclesiastic door that had been closed to Protestant women for a long time.
1897 The deaconess office gained a place within the polity of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.
1902 The office of deaconess was created in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, The Evangelical Association (1903), and the Methodist Protestant Church (1908)
1939 Church unification in 1939 united the deaconess offices of three predecessor churches, The Methodist Episcopal, The Methodist Protestant, and The Methodist Episcopal, South, under one single administration, the Woman’s Division of Christian Service of the Board of Missions, The Methodist Church.
1968 With church union in 1968, deaconesses and home missionaries of the Evangelical United Brethren Churches were united into the existing deaconess structure. Administration of the Commission on Deaconess Service was placed in the National Division, Board of Missions, The United Methodist Church.
The Deaconess, an Office of the Church
The deaconess movement was, in many ways, the answer to the women’s mission society’s groping efforts to address the concerns of neglected people in overseas countries and in many communities and cities here at home. Many of the societies expressed a willingness to assume responsibility for deaconess work. UNITED METHODIST WOMEN continue support of the Deaconess Program Office of the General Board of Global Ministries.
1889 The New England Deaconess Home and Training School is founded in Boston. The Lucy Webb Hayes Deaconess Home and Training School was also founded by the Woman’s Home Missionary Society ( M.E. Church) and dedicated October 17th as a memorial to its first president. The facility was located at 1140 North Capitol Street, Washington, DC.
In 1895 The New York Evangelical Training School and Settlement House is founded by Jennie Fowler Willing (M.E. Church) to train deaconesses and serve Hell’s Kitchen, an infamous New York slum.
1892 Scarritt Bible and Training School, headed by Maria Gibson, is opened in Kansas City, MO, thanks to the efforts of Belle Harris Bennett (M.E. Church, South). In 1902 Scarritt began training deaconesses.
1898 Bancroft Rest Home, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, opened in 1898, was the first retirement home for missionaries and deaconesses.
1900 Deaconess Home for Colored People founded in Cincinnati, OH, including a training school for black deaconesses.
1906 Martha Drummer, a black deaconess of the New England Deaconess Training School (Boston) is sent to Angola by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the M.E. Church. Anna Hall, another black deaconess, goes to the mission field in Liberia.
1907 Bessie Harrison is named a field worker for the black conferences by the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the M. E. Church, South.
1917 Fenton Memorial Rest Home, Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, New York, was established exclusively for deaconesses.
1956 The Woman’s Division purchases a three-story older house in the mountains of western North Carolina and establishes the Brooks Howell Home, a residence for retired Woman’s Division missionaries and deaconesses.
1992 In October 1992 the Women’s Division approved the consolidation of its retirement homes, Robincroft and Brooks-Howell.
Historical Steps in the Fight Against Racism
One of the historic principles that guided the work of our predecessor organizations was human rights for all people. This was based upon the belief that God is the creator of all people of all races and we are all God’s children. Therefore, opportunities for fellowship and service, personal growth, and freedom in every aspect of life are inherent rights of everyone. The creation of a community and social order without racial, ethnic, and language barriers has been a goal of United Methodist Women from its conception.
1942-2002: Charter for Racial Policies
1942 The First Assembly of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild was moved from St. Louis, Missouri to Columbus, Ohio where a racially integrated group could be housed in a hotel.
1951 States Laws on Race and Color, compiled by Pauli Murray, was published in January, 1951 by the Woman’s Division. This resource was placed by the division and/or local societies and guilds in 600 colleges and university libraries and in many public libraries. It was also given to Methodist agencies and institutions.
1952 The first Charter of Racial Polices was adopted by the Woman’s Division in January, 1952.
1954 The Woman’s Division was the first agency of The Methodist Church to issue a statement in support of the Supreme Court’s decision, of May 17, 1954 , proclaiming that segregation in public education anywhere in this nation is an infringement of the Constitution and a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Brown v. Board of Education)
1962 A revised Charter with 12 new goal statements was adopted by the Woman’s Division in January, 1962. In 1964 the General Conference adopted the Charter.
1978 A Charter for Racial Justice Policies in an Interdependent Global Community was adopted by the Women’s Division, April, 1978. By 1980 United Methodist Womenat all levels of the organization had ratified this charter. On petition by the Division, the 1980 General Conference approved it as the charter of The United Methodist Church
1998 Women’s Division and United Methodist Women participate in a hate crimes clipping project.
1940-2002: Efforts Toward Breaking Down Language Barriers
1940 Translation into Spanish of basic resource pieces for the society and guild began in early 1940.
1978 Hispanic Advisory Committee was approved and given the task of selecting writers for the Spanish Program Resources Book and advising the Division on resources needed for constituency. In April 1986, new Bylaw changes were adopted for the Hispanic Advisory Committee.
1983 Women’s Division held a Consultation with Asian Women in August, 1983, bringing together Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Korean women. The group asked the Women’s Division to focus on Korean women:(1) their needs for resources printed in Korean, (2) educating Korean pastors about United Methodist Women and (3) linking Korean and English-speaking units in a sister relationship.
As a result of the Consultation, efforts were made to include Korean women in the planning of 1984 quadrennial meetings of United Methodist Women.
1992 At the Spring Board meeting, the Women’s Division approved a special five-year membership emphasis for Korean-American United Methodist Women, 1993-1997, which still continues.
Telling the Mission Story
Nothing animated or motivated women to join and contribute financially to the missionary movement of the early 19th Century like hearing the stories told by the missionaries working in overseas missions. Making these stories available to members and prospective members of the societies became a priority. The women’s missionary magazines became a valuable medium for sharing stories and information about mission opportunities at home and abroad. These magazines were useful in helping women to identify with the missions cause, and to raise money. These journals were to be found in parlors and drawing rooms, in parsonages and churches throughout the country. Women read them avidly and through them, participated vicariously in the work of the missionaries and deaconesses.
1869-1969: Mission Magazines
1869 Heathen Woman’s Friend, published 1869-1896 in Boston, was the first women’s mission magazine published by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, M.E. Church.
1880 Woman’s Missionary Advocate was published from 1880-1910 in Nashville, Tennessee by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
1882 Woman’s Evangel was published from 1882-1917 by the Woman’s Missionary Association of the United Brethren in Christ Church.
1884 Woman’s Home Missions was published from 1884-1940 by the Woman’s Home Missionary Society (M.E. Church)
1885 The Woman’s Missionary Record was published in Kansas City, Missouri, and later in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1885-1924 by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Protestant Church. The Woman’s Missionary Record became the Missionary Record with Volume 39, September 1924 and continued until July 1940.
1886 Missionary Messenger was published 1886-1922 in Cleveland, Ohio by the Woman’s Missionary Society of the Evangelical Association. They also published a children’s mission magazine called Missionary Gem.
1892 Missionary Tidings was published 1892-1922 by the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the United Evangelical Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
1892 Our Homes was published 1892-1910 in Nashville, Tennessee by the Woman’s Home Missionary Society, M.E. Church, South.
1890 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the M. E. Church, South, under the leadership of Lucinda B. Helm, is organized and recognized by the church’s General Conference.
1896 Woman’s Missionary Friend, published in Boston from 1896-1940 by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, M.E. Church, replaced the Heathen Woman’s Friend.
1901 The Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the M.E. Church, South begins work at Paine Institute (founded 1883) in Augusta, Georgia, its first work with blacks.
1904 Ladies Aid Societies, as old as American Methodism, are officially recognized in the 1904 M.E. Book of Discipline, although there is never an official denominational agency.
1911 The Missionary Voice was published 1911-1932 in Nashville by the Board of Missions, M.E. Church, South. It combined: Go Forward, Our Homes and Woman’s Missionary Advocate and merged into World Outlook in 1932.
1918 Evangel was published 1918-1946 in Dayton, Ohio by the Woman’s Missionary Association of the U. B. in Christ Church.
1922 The Evangelical Missionary World was published 1922-1946 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by the Woman’s Missionary Society of the Evangelical Church. Missionary Messenger and theMissionary Tidings were merged into the Evangelical Missionary World in 1922.
1932 World Outlook, published by the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, grew out of The Missionary Voice. After organizational changes within the Board of Missions in 1964, World Outlook was no longer considered an official publication of the Woman’s Division of Christian Service. In 1965, World Outlook evolved into New World Outlook.
1940 The Methodist Woman was published 1940-1968 in Cincinnati, Ohio by the Woman’s Division of Christian Service, Board of Missions and Church Extension, The Methodist Church
1947 World Evangel was published 1947-1968 by Women’s Society of World Service, Evangelical United Brethren Church.
1969 Response began January 1969 with the merger of The Methodist Woman and World Evangel. It is published by the Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church.
The national structures for the various women’s missionary societies were composed of both volunteer and employed women. Each organization had authority in matters of administration of missionary personnel and projects, budget and finances, and the development of programs and resources for the societies. Central to each group was a commitment to an interlocking program of spiritual growth and nurture, mission education, social action, and financial support for mission at home and around the world.
As stated in its purpose, "The Women’s Division shall be actively engaged in fulfilling the mission of Christ and the Church and shall interpret the purpose of United Methodist Women. With continuing awareness of the concerns and responsibilities of the Church in today’s world, the Women’s Division Shall be an advocate for the oppressed and dispossessed with special attention to the needs of women and children; shall work to build a supportive community among women; and shall engage in activities that foster growth in the Christian faith, mission education, and Christian social involvement through the organization." 2000 Book of Discipline, ¶1317.
1940-2002: Spiritual Growth and Nurture
1940 Jesus and Social Redemption was the first spiritual growth study produced by the Woman’s Division of The Methodist Church. This resource was recommended for study along with the mission studies on Latin America and Christianity and Democracy in America (1941-1942). Since 1940, spiritual growth and Bible studies have been produced by the Division annually.
1969 The spiritual growth study, The Inner Life, was published by the Women’s Division, The United Methodist Church.
2000 A Lenten devotional book, A Journey in Song: Reflections on Hymns by Women, was developed for Lent 2000.
2002 During the 2001-2004 quadrennium, the Women’s Division continues to provide resources that support UNITE METHODIST WOMEN members in their spiritual lives. Plans are underway to expand the spiritual growth Web sites; develop inspirational mission tapes, a series of Bible studies, and a women’s book of hymns. Training events to explore models for reaching United Methodist Women through retreats and inspirational events are in the planning process.
1944-2002: Leadership and Resource Development
1944 Mrs. Porter Brown of Kansas served as the first general secretary of the Woman’s Division of the Board of Missions from 1944-1964. In 1964 she was the first woman to be elected general secretary of the Board of Missions.
1953 Woman’s Division establishes a quadrennial National Seminar. Prior to 1953, Seminars were held biannually, and in the early years were held annually. Length of time varied from 2-6 weeks and college credit was given for participation.
1964 Mrs. Dorothy McConnell succeeded Mrs. Brown in the Woman’s Division post for one quadrennium.
1968 Ms. Theressa Hoover, staff in the Christian Social Relations Department, was elected associate general secretary of the Women’s Division of the Board of Missions in 1968. She served as head of the Division until her retirement in 1990.
1972 The Women’s Division began a series of national legislative training events that were later held in many conference. The purpose of the training was to encourage and prepare women to run for political office.
1981 An Oral History Project to collect and preserve the history of personal experiences of missionaries and deaconesses, and former members and retired staff of the Division was approved by the Women’s Division.
1983 Women’s Division launch the District Leadership Training Program, "Share the Vision, Say Yes!.
1990 The Theressa Hoover Community Service and Global Citizenship Fund was established in October 1990, to honor the services of Ms. Hoover to the Division and the church from 1948-1990. An annual Theressa Hoover Community Service and Global Citizen Award, in the form of a grant, was created for young women between the ages of 21-35 for study, travel, exploration and research.
1991 Joyce D. Sohl, treasurer, is elected as deputy general secretary, Women’s Division, succeeding Theressa Hoover who retired in 1990.
1991 Administration and management of Response magazine and the Service Center were transferred to the Women’s Division from Mission Education and Cultivation Program Department, effective January 1, 1991.
1996 Women’s Division made its debut on the World Wide Web Internet with informative and attractive web pages for United Methodist Women.
1997 Training for the District Visitation Program, "Giving, Growing and Living", began in the fall of 1997.
2001 During the 2001-2004 quadrennium, the Women’s Division will place emphasis on a leadership development program for teen women and college/university women; "Leadership Training in a Box," a training plan for conference officers who do not attend the Leadership Training Event; developing skills training resources for elected leaders; and leadership development training resources for Hispanic and Korean American women.
2002 On April 15 Women’s Division approved a recommendation for a District Leadership Training Program.
1941-2002: Mission Education
1941 The Woman’s Division began working to establish a School of Christian Mission in each jurisdiction. In 1949 the Committee on Schools of Missions became a part of the conference bylaws and the plan was more strongly promoted.
1968 For more than 100 years, some version of the reading program has been part of each of the predecessor organizations of the Women’s Division. But when the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist Churches united in 1968, both the Reading Program and the emphasis on mission studies became part of the organization
1997 United Methodist Women in Mission Today, an eight-year emphasis of the Women’s Division was launched to encourage conferences and local units to become more involved in mission through prayer, study and action.
2000 Quadrennia emphases will focus on Phase II of the Mission Today Program; identifying new ways to involve youth in the development of mission education resources and experiences, including schools of Christian mission; and developing plans for the Reading Program that will move participants beyond the educational benefits of reading to action for justice.
1940-2002: Christian Social Responsibility & Advocacy
1940 The Department of Christian Social Relations and Local Church Activities, became the third department in the structure of the Woman’s Division of Christian Service, the Board of Missions. The department has a two-fold purpose in the local church and Woman’s Society. (1) To plan and promote a program of study and activity in the realm of major social problems of the community and nation, working toward a Christian solution of same. (2) To undertake activities and assume responsibilities in the local church and community that will strengthen the fellowship and increase the efficiency of the church program and make it an integrated part of the community life.
1944 The Woman’s Division of the Board of Missions of The Methodist Church forms a Committee on the Status of Women
1960 In 1960, the Board of Missions, through the Woman’s Division and the Board of Christian Social Concerns through the Division of World Peace joined together to create the Methodist office for the United Nations located in the Carnegie Building on First Avenue, across from the U.N. complex. In 1962, General Board of Church and Society purchased the property and building operation for the construction of the new Church Center for the United Nations with a loan from the Woman’s Division.
1969 Statement in opposition to the war in Vietnam was passed by the Women’s Division on October 25, 1969, for concurrent action by the World Division and presented as a resolution to the entire Board of Mission.
1971 In February, 1971, the Women’s Division adopted a resolution supporting the Equal Rights Amendment
Women’s Division joins with ecumenical partners to create the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) in New York City. ICCR uses stockholder resolutions to hold firms accountable for their actions affecting our food, environment and the health of our neighbors next door and abroad.
1973 The Women’s Division adopts a statement on Watergate that calls for the impeachment of president Richard Nixon.
1975 A resolution on Equal Rights is approved by the Women’s Division on October 20, 1975, and transmitted to the 1976 General Conference for action.
1976 Women’s Division bring to the 1976 General Conference the first resolution on the Law of the Sea where it is adopted. The Law of the Sea Treaty was finally signed in 1982.
The Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries adopted the policy statement on Ministries to Women and Ministries to Children on March 15, 1976.
The Women’s Division petitioned the 1976 General Conference to make the Commission on the Status and Role of Women permanent and in 1980, rejoiced when it was voted a standing general commission of the church.
1982 At the October Annual Meeting, the Women’s Division approved the purchase of the Church Center for the United Nations from the General Board of Church and Society.
1986 Directors and staff of the Women’s Division and the General Board of Global Ministries gather at the South African embassy, Washington, DC, with other people of faith willing to demonstrate and be arrested on the issue of apartheid and freedom in South Africa.
1997 The Women’s Division establishes a Chlorine- Free policy and urges the General Board of Global Ministries to switch to chlorine-free products wherever possible in all its offices and facilities
2000 The 2000 General Conference affirms seven resolutions submitted by the Women’s Division on public education, hate crimes, child soldiers, responsible travel, world peace, biblical language, and adoption.
2001 During the 2001-2004 quadrennium, special emphasis will be placed on advocacy for debt relief for the poorest countries, and public education reform; monitoring hate crimes and violence in society; and action to ban the recruitment and training of children as soldiers and the targeting of children, especially girls, for sexual abuse and gender-based violence.
Women’s Division adopts a "Resolution on Terrorist Attacks," in response to the devastating terrorist attack in the United States and the subsequent bombing of Afghanistan. In August 2002, the executive committee of the Women’s Division approves a resolution on Iraq, calling for peace and diplomatic efforts as an alterative to war.
1982-2002: Membership and Nurture
1982 Women’s Division launch membership campaigns: "Called to Grow," 1982;" "United Methodist Women Growing in Mission;"1986-1990; and "Yes! Count Me In" 1996-2002.
1996 In September 1996, a new, more flexible structure for United Methodist Women is approved and goes into effect January 1, 1997.
2000 Special emphasis will continue into the next quadrennium on developing membership nurture and outreach with teen women, young women (ages 18-39), newly-retired women, African-American women, and women of non-English-speaking language groups.
Finance and Resource Development
1978 The policy statement, Giving: A Biblical And Theological Perspective, was adopted by the Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries, April 1978.
1982 The Centennial Era Celebration is observed from 1982-1986 by the Women’s Division and United Methodist Women. Division adopts four goals that evolved from the Centennial Era Celebration: Higher Education for Women in Africa; creation of a Center for Continuing Education for United Methodist Women at the Church Center for the U.N.; development of a series of Working Conferences of Methodist women in and between countries; and use of telecommunication and new technologies to improve communications with the organization of United Methodist Women.
1986 A former Program on Undesignated Giving was launched in 1986, bringing an increased awareness of mission and how it is supported by undesignated funds. Undesignated giving makes mission possible!
2000 During the 2001-2004 quadrennium new emphasis will be placed on financial interpretation of Undesignated Mission Giving for a total program of mission; developing a strategic plan related to retirement benefits including pensions, health benefits and Homes for Retired Workers; and promoting and interpreting material resource giving in collaboration with United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
Assemblies and Quadrennial Conventions
Assemblies of The Woman’s Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild, The Methodist Church
1942 The 1st Assembly was scheduled to be held in St. Louis, Missouri. The event was relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where black women attending the meeting were admitted as guests in the city’s hotels. No theme indicated: "Facing This Hour," was the title of the message delivered by Mrs. J. D. Bragg, president.
1946 The 2nd Assembly was held April 18-21, 1946 in Columbus, Ohio. The theme was, " He is Our Peace:" president, Mrs. J. D. Bragg.
1950 The theme for the 3rd Assembly was, "Christian Faith for a World in Revolution." The event was held in Cleveland, Ohio and the president was Mrs. Frank G. Brooks.
1954 "Jesus Christ...the Way" was the theme for the 4th Assembly held May 25-28 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mrs. Frank G. Brooks, president, presided over the event.
1958 Mrs. J. Fount Tillman, president, presided over the 5th Assembly held in St. Louis, Missouri, May 6-9, 1958. "Christ’s Message for Today," was the theme.
1962 The theme for the 6th Assembly was, "The Church in the World". Mrs. J. Fount Tillman was the president, and the event was held May 15-18 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1966 "Call to Renewal and Service" was the theme for the 7th Assembly held May 12-15 in Portland, Oregon. Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey was president.
1970 The 8th Assembly of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild of The United Methodist Church was held May 7-10 in Houston, Texas. The theme was, "Choose Life," and the president of the organization was Mrs. Eunice Harrington.
Assemblies of United Methodist Women, The United Methodist Church
1973 The 9th Assembly was the first assembly under the newly created structure for United Methodist Women. Mrs. C. Clifford Cummings was the president. Al Carmine was commissioned to write the theme song, "Many Gifts, One Spirit." The event was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 4-7, 1973.
1978 The 10th Assembly was held April 27-30 in Louisville, Kentucky. The theme was, " A New People for a New Age," and Mrs. Mai H. Gray was president.
1982 Ruth A. Daugherty was president during the 11th Assembly held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 29- May 2. The theme was, "Christ Our Hope–The Journey Our Life."
1986 The theme for the 12th Assembly, held in Anaheim, California, April 17-20, was "Into the Future By Faith." This event was a celebration of the Centennial Era of the organization. Carolyn M. Marshall was president.
1990 "Witnesses for a New World" was the theme for the 13th Assembly held in Kansas City, Missouri, May 3-6, 1990. Sally G. Ernst was president.
1994 The 14th Assembly was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 28-May1, 1994. Carolyn E. Johnson was president and the theme was, "Count Me In."
1998 "Make Plain the Vision" was the theme for the 15th Assembly held in Orlando, Florida. Sara S. Shingler was president.
2002 The 16th Assembly was held April 25-28, 2002 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Sing A New Song" was the theme. President Genie Bank presided over the event.
The Women’s Society for World Service, the Evangelical United Brethren Church
1950 The 1st Quadrennial Convention was held October 12-16, 1950 in Indianapolis, IN. The theme was, "Declare His Glory."
1954 The 2nd Quadrennial Convention was held October, 20-24 in Kitchener, Ontario Canada. The theme for the event was, "Ye Shall Be My Witness."
1958 Harrisburg, VA was the location of the 3rd Quadrennial Convention held September 17-21, 1958. The theme was, "Him We Proclaim."
1962 September 19-23, 1962 was the date of the 4th Quadrennial Convention held in Wichita, Kansas. The theme was, "Clothed With Power."
1966 The 5th Quadrennial Convention was held August 16-20, 1966 in Annville, PA. The theme for the event was, "Remember Jesus Christ."
The Quadrennial Conventions, unlike Methodist Assemblies, were of both a program and business nature.