HISTORY OF PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN
Presbyterian Women began more than 200 years ago by supporting missionaries with both donations and prayers. The first national organization for women in the Presbyterian denomination was the Women’s General Missionary Society, which was established in 1875.
Women’s financial support of missions has always been phenomenal. The Thank Offering, which began in 1888, and the Birthday Offering, which began in 1922, both continue today. In 1930 Presbyterians opened the office of elder to women and some 28 years later, the ordination of women began in 1958.
The emblem for Presbyterian Women has changed over the years. The current symbol is a trio of women, rooted in faith, emerging from a core. The outline of the central figure forms a cross, the right figure holds a book to guide her reading, studying, praying or meditating, the left figure reaches out to care for others, and the circle represents the church worldwide where women offer their gifts and talents.
PURPOSE OF PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN
- 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 of women that strengthens the Presbyterian Church (USA) and witnesses to the promise of God’s kingdom.
HOW WE FULFILL THE PURPOSE
We nurture our faith through prayer and Bible study on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 1:00 pm in Fellowship Hall. “Sacred Encounters” is the title of this year’s Bible study. We support the mission of the church worldwide by receiving two main offerings each year: the Thank Offering is collected in the fall and the Birthday Offering is collected in May. Grants are awarded annually from each of these offerings. In past years the University of the Ozarks and the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Warehouse at Ferncliff were recipients.
We work for justice and peace by continuing to answer God’s call to share His love with those in need. PW works through action, advocacy and awareness building with an emphasis on poverty, human trafficking, violence, racism and injustice.
We build an inclusive, caring community of women by inviting all women of the church to participate in all PW activities. Whether we are meeting monthly on the local level or triennially on the Presbytery, Synod or Churchwide level, all women are welcome at all PW gatherings.
Many of PCBV’s women have attended national and international PW gatherings over the years and discovered how enjoyable it is to participate in these inclusive PW events with caring women from all over the world.
AND…Presbyterian women from around the world will once again gather in person and in faithful community at the 2024 Churchwide Gathering August 8-11, 2024 in St. Louis. The theme is Do Everything in Love.
Shoebox Ministry is an ongoing PW mission project in which shoeboxes are filled with toiletry and personal items for homeless individuals. When a request for filled shoeboxes is received, an announcement will be made. We will then meet prior to PW Bible Study at 12:30 pm in Fellowship Hall to fill 50-75 shoeboxes. Most often, filled shoeboxes are given to the Salvation Army for distribution. The contact person for Shoebox Ministry is Terry Woods.
Busy Hands is a group of women who meet on Friday afternoons in the church lobby to knit and crochet. Most completed projects are sent to Vera Lloyd Children’s Home in Monticello, Arkansas and Knitting4Peace, a non-profit in Denver, Colorado, however, hundreds of clothing items such as scarfs, hats, shawls, mittens, and baby blankets have been made and sent overseas to those in need, most recently to orphanages in Ukraine. If you knit or crochet and wish to help others, consider joining Busy Hands in the office lobby any Friday between 1:00 and 3:00 pm. The contact person for Busy Hands is Ruth Cozad.
Mission Quilters is a group of Presbyterian
Women who make twin-size quilts for the Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Home in Monticello, Arkansas. A handmade quilt is given to each child or youth upon their arrival at Vera Lloyd. The quilt is a gift and is theirs to keep. Any quilters are welcome. The contacts for Mission Quilters are Florence Riter and Karen Schneider.
HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP
The Honorary Life Membership program of PW was established early last century in the Presbyterian Church to honor faithful service to the women’s organization and to the church. Funds derived from these memberships support the PW Leadership Development Grant Program which enables individuals t o engage in leadership development opportunities.
Honorary Life Memberships are presented by our local church members for faithful service and leadership in PW and the church.
The five symbols in the pin (above) are:
- The caring, supportive hands represent women who seek to build an inclusive community of Presbyterian Women.
- The leaf represents growth of our personal and corporate response to Jesus Christ as we nurture our faith.
- The dove indicates our work for peace in our own lives and throughout the world, shown in the globe.
- At the center of the design is the cross, by which our sins are forgiven and we are freed to live in Christ who is at the center of our lives.
- The overall design is of a butterfly, a symbol of newness in Christ.
PW PCBV LIFE MEMBERSHIP AWARD RECIPIENTS ARE:
1997 Deloris Campbell
1998 Burnis Leavens
1999 Ruth Bleich
2000 Mildred Dry
2001 Winifred Simmelink
2002 Verda Gruneich
2003 Pat Johnson
2004 Betsy Smith
2005 Lela Sandfort
2006 Vera Martin
2007 Emily Dieleman
2008 Denise Eicken
2009 Marlys Walters
2010 Marinell Anderson
2011 Carol Smell
2012 Sharon Carpiaux
2013 Barb Tropansky
2014 Betty Bennett
2015 Jennette Martin & Maryann Sweeney
2017 Ruth Cozad
2019 Vicki Erickson & Lorna Sterrett
2021 Jeanne Reif & Sharon Warner
2023 Dianne Allen & Terry Woods