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As February slips away, another birthday – number 58 – is acknowledged for Australian Church Women (ACW) and a new ACW year begins. Another year to support our program and the associations with whom we are linked:

· and various projects.

Speaking of celebrations, one of our Vic Unit members sent me an article and a couple of photos that were provided to her by the Diocese Archivist of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. The article is about a eucharist that was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on 2 June 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary since women were deaconed in the Diocese of Melbourne. The story featured one of our past ACW presidents – The Revd Elizabeth Alfred (see

The Revd Elizabeth Alfred

Titled: ‘At 97, Elizabeth Alfred thanks God for many blessings’, the report is accompanied by the adjacent photo of a sprightly looking Revd Alfred who said of the celebration that it was ‘one of the happiest days I’ve had in years’. Such an emphatic declaration demonstrates how important ordination was to her.

‘Elizabeth, a member of that first group of women to be ordained in the Diocese, said the service “brought back all that deaconing and priesting had meant to us. I also caught up with many friends and had the unexpected joy of speaking with several people for whom I had prayed, but never met.”’

The report was written by Beryl Rule and appeared in the July 2011 edition of The Melbourne Anglican newspaper.

Elizabeth Alfred also authored a book about her spiritual journey, Called to serve: the spiritual journey of Elizabeth Alfred, which was published in 2001. When I searched the internet looking for a copy of this book, I discovered a brief biography of Elizabeth had been uploaded to Wikipedia, and it refers to our ACW blog as a source of information. This Wikipedia biography can be read at, and our blog is referred to in the sixth source at the end of the article.

I am aware that this is the second recent acknowledgement of our ACW blog in work authored by others.

The second is in Dr Kerrie Handasyde’s latest book God in the Landscape: Studies in the Literary History of Australian Protestant Dissent. Kerrie is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Divinity, Australia. In the sixth chapter, ‘Landscape of Adventure: Methodist Novels and Imagination on the Mission Fields, 1910–48’, Kerrie refers to Australian Church Women’s relationship with Edna Roughley (Beales). Edna was a well-known Australian Christian author in the 1930s–50s, and she represented ACW at the second Assembly of the Asian Church Women’s Conference in 1962 (see

I was invited to the book launch of God in the Landscape, but unfortunately this event clashed with another appointment. I was very disappointed as I have enjoyed reading other books and articles that Kerrie has written because they have usually been on topics that interest me, but have not had much previous coverage by other historians. I have ordered a copy of God in the Landscape, as it also features a chapter on The Salvation Army and its ‘Publicity and Performance in the Parish of the Streets, 1890–1909’; it should arrive in a few days.

ACW members can see in this blog post, and the many others available on our website, that ACW can point to a rich herstory of notable Christian women as members and associates. God bless Australian Church Women.


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This Herstory Blog of Australian Church Women Inc. tells the stories of the women and activities of this national Christian organisation that was founded in February 1965.

Stories that inspired and encouraged me to begin this blog and share their inspiration with you. Stories that need to be told so that the women of ACW can be honoured and celebrated for their achievements and experiences in local, national and international communities of faith. And, most importantly, stories that demonstrate being disciples of Jesus Christ firmly underpins all that Australian Church Women represents.

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