History, Part 9 - The Women's Council (to 1950)
The Women's Council is an outgrown of several previous women's organizations that were active in the early Church. Even before formal organization of the church, a group of Christian women had met at the home of Mrs. D. M. Johnston on June 28, 1892, organized the Social Circle.
Not long afterward a group of devoted women formed a Missionary Society. Mrs. D. M. Johnston, Mrs. J. A. Rose, and the Misses Carrie and Mattie Brown were a few of the ladies prominent in this. It numbered 28 members in 1909. (2) This society carried the missionary work of the Church until 1932, when they voted to join the council.
On April 16, 1907, a third group of young girls and young women formed the Young Ladies Guild. Miss Mabel Corbett (Mrs. Losey) was president, Mrs. Ralph Heryer, vice president, and Mrs. S. P. Laubach, sec.-treasurer. Other charter members were Mrs. Lang, Miss Erma Rose, Miss Blanche Johnston (Mrs. Joe Dews). The object of this society was to make $1,000 for a new church building fund, in addition to paying $400 for the general expenses of the Church... In 1909 this society was reorganized taking the name of the Young Women's Guild, and was divided into two circles. (3)
This Guild was a most active body, which met every Tuesday afternoon. They gave bazaars, served banquets, sold toilet articles, pies, magazine subscriptions, rag rugs; pieced quilts, tacked comforts etc.--all with the object of making money for the Church. They did make enough money to turn over to the building committee a $1000 Building and Loan bond when the Church was begun and to add another $1000 soon afterwards. (4)
During World War I they promoted the sale of bonds, sent packages to boys in France, and sewed for the Red Cross. During these years their membership was 20-25.
Perhaps the most ambitious fund raising project of the Guild was a "Trip Around the World". Several of the members fitted up their homes to represent various countries, and appropriate refreshments were served at each place. Ireland had a "wishing well", and Irish singers (college students), and Irish stew was served. One home set up a sidewalk cafe, like those in Paris, with soft drinks and soft music.
Tickets for the tour were 75 cents apiece, and free transportation was furnished. The whole town turned out, and money to take the Church "out of the basement." (7) Thus the Guild carried on their social and money making activities for many years. On March 22, 1928, they voted to change their name to Women's Council. (8)
In April, 1931, Mrs. Paul Menaul, the president, appointed a committee to reorganize the Council and to draw up a new constitution and by-laws. There were 3 circles at this time: Fidelis, Doremus, and Dorcas. The first two were the money making bodies... (9)
Then in January 1932, the Missionary Society, which had been a separate organization, voted to form a union with the Women's Council.
Another change in the organization seems to have occurred in 1946. At the January meeting, "It was moved and seconded that there be a shake-up in the circles and that the names be drawn and new circles be formed for the coming year." (10) There were to be two circles, #1 and #2. Minutes of the Executive Board began to appear regularly, and a library was started. (11) A women's prayer group to meet on the Wednesday morning before Council was organized by Mrs. D. M. Johnston. (12) In 1950 the prayer group began to meet each Tuesday morning.
At present the Women's Council is an elastic organization, made up of all women in the Church who wish to attend. Most of the Council funds are raised by pledges or gifts, but the two Circles engage in money making activities. The Council carries on such Church projects as maintaining a nursery during the Church hour, building up a library, redecorating and refurnishing portions of the Church, putting on Council luncheons and Family night dinners, conducting an Annual Praise Service and anything else that needs to be done.
Both the Council and the Circles devote much time to missionary study, and both give to Missions and local charity causes. The Council pays the Annual Apportionment to Missions and Christian Education. It meets the 4th Thursday in each month, usually for a one o'clock luncheon at the Church.
Present officers of the Women's Council are: President, Mrs. E. B. Strickler; vice-president, Mrs. C. N. Pittenger; secretary, Mrs. Mabel Neal; treasurer, Mrs. H. W. Cabeen; and parliamentarian, Mrs. William Flagler.
Mrs. George Dyche bought the first memorial window in the church in honor of her father, Mr. C. C. Wooster. Her Sunday School class also bought and paid for the first pew in the church.
Pews for the church were bought about 1927. Prior to that the congregation sat on chairs.