This week, let’s have a closer look at some of the preparations for the 1965 Fellowship Day. 1965 was the year that Australian Church Women (ACW) officially began, and so did their responsibility to coordinate Fellowship Day nationally. Reading through the national report and minutes, in our records, gives us some background to the production of the order of service and accompanying study material, which was titled ‘bridges to Asia’.
The theme was influenced by the presence in Australia of the first Winifred Kiek Scholarship holder, Miss Connie Tan Kwie Hwa, a social worker from Djakarta, Indonesia. Connie attended and took part in the 1965 Fellowship Day in Brisbane and several centres in Sydney.
I mentioned in an earlier post that the order of service for this Special Day was prepared by the first ACW President, Mrs Mabel Wyllie of New South Wales. Mrs Wyllie undertook this task when another woman invited to do so was unable to accept the invitation. Prior to Mabel Wyllie accepting this assignment, quite a bit of discussion on the Fellowship Day had already taken place at the National Committee of ACW to meet the general request of women for the study material to be related to their desire and ability to serve.
The study material was compiled by the Rev. and Mrs Gordon Dicker who had served as missionaries in Indonesia. Their study emphasised the equality of all people in God’s sight, and of the need for this to be the attitude of the heart and mind of everyone, everywhere. Five out of seven of the study questions were related to the region of south east Asia. Samples of the programme were sent to the units of ACW for their consideration.
The approved programmes were produced by the Australian Council of Churches (ACC) in Sydney for distribution to the ACW Units, except for the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Victoria who arranged their own printing. The ACC also produced 18,000 publicity leaflets about Connie Tan, and these were used prior to and in connection with Fellowship Day.
The 1965 Fellowship Day was observed in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, and the collections from Fellowship Day were allocated to the Winifred Kiek Scholarship Fund.
Many of the Winifred Kiek Scholarship recipients who studied in Australia have also been able to attend the Fellowship Day services of Australian Church Women. Their attendance has greatly encouraged the supporters of the Winifred Kiek Scholarship, as they are able to meet the scholar and often hear them speak at the service and other events.
2020 ACW Fellowship Day
Moving Forward in Faith
'Joy for the Journey: Making wise decisions'
This year, a virtual ACW Fellowship Day Service will be available online on Friday 31 July.
The service has been prepared by the members of the Western Australia Unit of Australian Church Women.
A booklet of the service is available to download on the Home page.