Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Missionary Society. The society was founded on June 6, 1919 and was dissolved December 31, 2013. Much missionary support for the RPCNA was raised through the women of the church.
Owen F. Thompson wrote, in 1931:
“The Women’s Synodical Missionary Society was organized June 6, 1919, at Belle Center, Ohio. It meets biennially in connection with the meeting of Synod. Its object is to increase our missionary zeal and to cooperate with the Boards of the Church in Home and Foreign Mission work.
Previous to the year 1919, an effort had been made by the Pittsburgh Presbyterial to form a Synodical organization, but it remained to Colorado Presbyterial under the leadership of Mrs. Myrta May Dodds, the efficient first President of the organization, to unite into one general Synodical Society the various Presbyterial and local missionary societies of the church.
Prior to the formation of the Women’s Synodical much excellent work had been accomplished by the women of the Church in the various missionary societies, but the enterprise lacked unity and leadership. More definite information of the conditions and needs of the missionary work of the Church and greater efficiency in the service of the Master have resulted from the organization. Uniform Programs, a Standard of Efficiency, and the women’s pages in the “Olive Trees” have kept all united in study and aim.
At the meeting held in Pittsburgh i n 1921, the Women’s Synodical Society favored the opening of a Girls’ School in Cyprus and pledged to pay the salaries of two teachers. It now supports the three teachers who are needed to carry on this successful enterprise.
The slogan adopted at the meeting held in Beaver Falls in 1925 was, “The women of the Church supporting the women missionaries of the Church.” Through the Thank Offering, Life and Memorial Memberships, and the Sacrificial Gifts, the women are steadily approaching the goal set before them of furnishing the means for the salaries of all our women missionaries.
The Women’s Synodical Missionary Society consists of eighty-one local societies which are united in nine Pres- byterial organizations. With an active membership of 2008 women, $23,387 was contributed for all purposes dur- ing the year ending March 31, 1928.”
The Women’s Missionary Society dissolved in 2013 with this note sent to the clerks of presbyteries:
“The Women’s Synodical Missionary Fellowship has faithfully served the RPCNA for nearly 100 years. It was organized in June, 1919 in Belle Center, Ohio. The stated purpose was to provide financial, personal and loving care to our women missionaries serving around the world.
The work has been carried out primarily through small, but very active, groups in local congregations across the denomination. Several changes in recent decades have altered the organization itself, and, eventually, raised questions regarding the need for it.
The WSMF will officially be dissolved as of December 31, 2013. The bank account will be closed and existing funds dispersed appropriately to current mission work and personnel. Until that date, contributions may be sent to the treasurer.
Active congregational and presbytery missionary and fellowship groups are encouraged to continue meeting. Beginning January 1, 2014, offerings and contributions should be sent directly to chosen individuals or chosen ministries, or through congregational treasurers to RP Global Missions.
Please continue to pray for and give to mission endeavors as the Lord leads. It is our desire that congregations as a whole will be committed to this vital work.”