Women’s Association Through the Years
Let me preface this portion of our church history by saying that 100 years is a lot to cover in a matter of minutes. The Women’s Association as most of you have known it, did not come into being until 1939 but the early church women played a significant role in our later success. They laid the ground work for organization and set a high standard of Christian service for those of us who have followed.
Our official church founding date was October 7, 1907. On October 24, 1907 at a congregation meeting held in the Masonic Temple on Ardmore Avenue, a Mrs. Plummer was elected chairman of a committee to organize a “Ladies Aid Society” with power to choose her own associates.
The object of the “Society” was to assist in promoting the spiritual, social, charitable and financial affairs of the church. Any person in sympathy with these objectives of the Society was invited to become a member.
The Ladies Aid Society was organized November 20, 1907 with 11 members. By November 1908 the membership had increased to 26.
In February 1909 a missionary department of the Ladies Aid Society was established. This new group immediately started work on a clothing box for a Native American Indian Missionary in Pine Ridge, North Dakota and shipped it in April 1908 – valued at $150.00.
In October 1909 another box was packed for the Rev. John Hughes and family a Sunday School missionary under the Board of Publications and Sabbath School work. This was our first home mission box. Each year until 1925, we sent a box of clothing to Rev. Hughes in Bismarck, N.D. and this created the tradition of the Christmas box that the women packed each year down through our history.
The Ladies Aid Society and the missionary department sewed for these missionaries and also for Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia, the Presbyterian Orphanage and Dorcas’ Closet.
In 1910 the Ladies Aid Society donated $100. to the chapel building fund.
In September of 1910 the chapel was completed and the Ladies Aid Committee hosted a reception for the congregation and friends of the new church.
In 1916 it was decided that the name of Ladies Aid Society did not quite define their group so the new name of “Women’s Auxiliary” was adopted and from 1916 to 1939 this organization carried on its program of Mission – Bible Study Christian Fellowship.
The Ardmore Women’s Association was organized on May 4, 1939 with 100 women present. This new organization was the coming together of the Women’s Missionary Society, the Women’s Auxiliary and the Thursday Evening Missionary Society.
The purpose of the Association was to promote a spirit of friendliness, to increase the efficiency of women and to enlarge their understanding of and participation in the work of the church as it reflects itself in the 5 fields of Christian service – the home, the local church, the community, the nation and the world.
Our Women’s Association was the first church in the Philadelphia Presbytery to adopt this new plan of organization.
We were also the Association to adopt the department form of organization as recommended by the National Council of Presbyterian Women. The department being: World Service – Fellowship and Program Departments.
As Ardmore Presbyterian Women from 1939 – 2006 we participated in just about everything Presbyterian women were asked to do. We supported special offerings of Presbyterian women, we sent women to national meetings of the Presbyterian Women of the Philadelphia Presbytery. We had superb leadership through the years. We sewed for hospitals and knitted sweaters for children. Our Service Day people sorted used clothing for missions, packed Christmas boxes for national and foreign missions. We supported our budget to help our missionaries and Presbyterian institutions.
To mention just a couple of special mission projects, one being the International Gift Sale. Every November 1976-1982, we had beautiful hand-crafted articles from around the world. The crafts all made at mission stations, rehabilitation hospitals and cottage industries. The first year’s receipts were $15,674.00. This special project was by Eva Christian, the wife of our Interim Pastor, Dr. Fred Christian, serving after the untimely death of Dr. Faulds.
In 1982 the Women’s Association published a cookbook “Sharing Our Best”; the proceeds going to our Hunger Task Force here at the church.
All good things must eventually come to an end, so in December 2006 our Executive Committee of the Ardmore Women’s Association voted to close the books. We are most grateful for the outstanding support we have had from all of you through our many phases and projects. To those of you who have supported our special offerings, we hope you will continue to do so through our Mission Awareness Committee of the Session.
Our Presbyterian Women have a stated purpose that I would like to share with you:
- Forgiven and freed by God in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves.
- To nurture our faith through prayer and Bible study.
- To support the mission of the Church worldwide.
- To work for justice and peace and to build an inclusive, caring community that strengthens the Presbyterian Church USA and witnesses to the promise of God’s Kingdom.