Marjory Verco’s outline of the beginnings of Australian Church Women (ACW) continues this week with the progress made after the formation of the Interim Committee of Australian Church Women:
‘In March, 1963 my husband and I left for overseas again, visiting [the] U.S.A. for six weeks. This time, as Vice Chairman of the I.C. [Interim Committee] of A.C.W. and President of N.S.W.W.I.C.C. [New South Wales Women’s Inter-Church Council], I arranged to meet representatives of U.C.W. [United Church Women] of U.S.A. at every stop – local, state and national. What an inspirational and beneficial experience!
‘The first task of the I.C. was to encourage all to participate in W.W.D.P. [Women’s World Day of Prayer] and to introduce Fellowship Day and World Community Day to all Australian church women – days set aside for inter-church worship, prayer, study and fellowship.
‘During 1963 the I.C. produced the study booklet "Saints Alive!". This was used widely by many study groups.
‘In March, 1964 the Interim Committee of Australian Church Women arranged a National Consultation which was held at Wesley College, University of Sydney. Representatives from Women's Inter-Church Councils of South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and N.S.W. and representatives from Church of England, Congregational, Churches of Christ, Methodist, Presbyterian, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches attended.
‘At this Consultation, Mrs. Joan Coates presented the Fellowship of the Least Coin and told of the gift of $1,000 received in 1963, from this fund for work amongst Australian Aborigines. The meeting recommended to the Interim Committee that the Fellowship of the Least Coin be introduced throughout Australia and suggested that World Community Day might be a suitable time to receive this money.
‘Other recommendations included the Aim of Australian church women and the Structure of Australian church women.
‘Then came the need for establishing a special project and the Winifred Kiek Scholarship was set up – what faith the Interim Committee had!
‘The first meeting of the National Committee of Australian Church Women was held at Deaconess House, Sydney in February, 1965. The National Committee adopted the Constitution of Australian Church Women and appointed the Working Committee –
President – Mrs. M. Wyllie
Secretary – Col. H. Cross
Vice-President – Head Deaconess Mary Andrews
Vice-President – Mrs. M. Verco
Treasurer – Mrs. K. Dey
and Mrs. Stafford, Mrs. Lilley, Mrs. Dougan, Mrs. Gribble and Mrs. Doratis.
‘A dream come true – a vision realized! Under God's guidance in a wonderful way. And yet, this was only the beginning of the vision of which we were reminded by Mrs. Commissioner Coutts at our initial Consultation "that they all may be one that the world may believe".
‘What an inspiration! What a challenge!’
As mentioned last week, this is the 53rd blog post on our ACW Herstory Blog, and it celebrates the one-year anniversary of another step of faith in the name of Jesus. So, we are celebrating with a Covid-safe, socially distanced party.
Our blog demonstrates the faith and risks taken by our founding, and past and current members to proclaim the Word of our Saviour through our words and actions, as we collaborate on projects and events to make a united effort to proclaim the love of Jesus and minister to the disadvantaged across our world.
Please note: some of the organisations mentioned in this post have had changes to their name since Marjory's report was written in the early 1970s e.g. the Women’s World Day of Prayer has become the World Day of Prayer.
I continue with my request for a group photograph of both the first National Committee and the Interim Committee of Australian Church Women. If you know of one, or any photos of the members of those first national committees that we are able to add to our ACW records and website, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org