United Church Women
United Church Women
United Church Women: 1962-2017
Fifty-five years of Witness, Study, Fellowship and Service
When the United Church officially formed in 1925, the Ladies Aid, later the Woman’s Association (WA) and the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) were doing work at home and abroad. The WA focused on supporting the local church and community, while the WMS was more involved with education and world mission. On January 1st 1962 these two women’s organizations of the United Church came together to form the United Church Women (UCW).
The Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) had its roots in women’s missionary organizations in the late 1800s. Early societies offered women an opportunity to become involved in mission work around the word. Over the years their mandate changed but its focus was always on world mission. Children and youth were included in its programs. Later on, evangelism – spreading the gospel – became part of its responsibility as well. The organization also encouraged working towards “temperance, social welfare and peace.”
In 1961, on the eve of the formation of The UCW the WMS maintained and supported a vast independent network across the church including a staff of 165 people at work in 80 centres across Canada, 97 active missionaries around the world and current yearly receipts of $1,527,085. In 1961 there were 96,444 full members.
Whereas the WMS was concerned with worldwide mission, the Woman’s Association was focused on work at home, in the local church and community. Guilds or Ladies’ Aids, had been organized for decades in many congregations to help build and maintain the church, to ensure the Christian education of the members, and to serve as needed. Most of these societies went unrecorded.
The WA was established in 1925. Its three-fold purpose was spiritual, social and financial. Its mandate was to assist the pastor in pastoral work, to have general oversight of the furnishing of the manse, to assist in the social and welfare work of the congregation, to raise money for local church purposes and to promote a spirit of goodwill and Christian fellowship throughout the congregation. On its final roll in 1961 the WA had 215,387 members in 6,313 associations and raised $5,527,470. for all church purposes.
The initial membership of the UCW was 300,000 making it the largest women’s movement in Canada.
AURORA UNITED CHURCH WOMEN
Since its inception, 55 years ago, the Aurora UCW has seen the formation of many units. Originally they were simply numbered, then given inspired names such as; WHO, Wohelo, Chimo, Serendipity, Genesis, Shalom, Wellspring and our current units; Seekers and Grace. Each unit is comprised of approximately 20 women who meet monthly for worship, fellowship, information sessions, fun and food.
Service to others is a guiding principal for UCW and its work throughout the years has involved fundraising to support church functions, charities and outreach projects. Over the years members have dedicated countless hours cheerfully organizing and working at Rummage Sales, Christmas bazaars, Fall Events, producing chocolate Easter eggs, managing the Christmas Stocking program, holding Book sales and carrying out other projects to provide funds where needed.
Aurora UCW is part of Living Waters Presbyterial which meets several times a year bringing together the UCW units from the churches within its district.
AURORA UCW PRESIDENTS 1962 - present
1960s: Helen Clark, Florence Burnside, Florence Schurman, Isobel Miller
1970s: Muriel Graham, Isabel Sniezek, Karon Falk, Muriel Graham
1980s: Judy Rodger, Jackie Somerville, Barb Houston, Donna Keffer, Mary Smith
1990s: Barb Suddard, Gail Witherspoon, Lynne Thompson, Beth Wardlaw
2000s: Gail Davie, Nancy Birtch, Donna Keffer, Kelly Towsley, Nina Whelan & Doreen Hiltz, Paula Hanna & Pat Innes, Sharon Corbett & Nancy Newman
2014-2015: Kathie Blackman, Linda Hodgins, Mary Smith, Susan Tutt
2016-2017: Helen Roberts
AUCW CHARTER MEMBERS (members since 1962): Dorothy Butler, Barb Houston, Beth Humfryes, Carolyn Stafford. (Apologies to Carolyn Stafford whose name was inadvertently left off the list of UCW charter members on the handout)
UCW September Meeting
Monday, September 11, 1:30pm ~ Historic Chapel
Tuesday, Septmember 12, 7 pm ~ Chartwell Hollandview
*** Still collecting pop tabs, postage stamps & eyeglasses? You can drop them off during office hours to the church office.. Please note: Campbell’s soup labels are no longer being accepted.
Aurora United Church currently has two active UCW units, the Seekers unit & the Grace unit. All women of the church are welcome to attend our meetings. Monthly meetings consist of programs, worship and social time and often include guest speakers and outings. We invite you to come and meet with us or attend one of our UCW events.
To unite all the women of the Congregation for the total mission of the church and to provide a medium through which they may express their loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian witness, study, fellowship and service.
2016 UCW EXECUTIVE:
Past-Presidents: Kathie Blackman, Susan Tutt, Linda Hodgins President: Helen Roberts Secretary: Pat Innes Treasurer: Anne Ella-Arnold Unit Leaders: Mary Smith (Seekers), Leslie Stoangi and Nettie Damstra (co-leaders of Grace Unit) AUC Council Rep: Paula Hanna
UCW PROJECTS This year we were pleased to be able to raise $2,000 for the AUC Future Fund by selling Cob’s Bread discount cards to members of the congregation and others. We want to thank the bakery for this generous opportunity. In addition, we distributed funds to 14 charitable causes.
Our Christmas stocking program was again an outstanding success. Congregants filled 128 stockings with toys, clothing and treats. These were distributed by the Women’s Centre of York Region to selected families requesting them.
Our Christmas Potluck dinner was attended by about 70 women, including those from our congregation, together with ladies from Bradford United Church and Trinity Anglican. It was great to see so many potential UCW members in attendance. Cheryl Curtis, Mission and Service Funding Officer, spoke to us about various projects throughout Canada and the world that are supported by the United Church.