Progressive Church Women of Queensland
In this week's dive into the archives, I came across an interesting report that was featured in the working papers of the first national committee meeting of Australian Church Women (ACW), in February 1965. It was submitted by the Women’s Inter-church Council of Queensland, before the inauguration of ACW, and it shows their desire to be a part of ACW from its earliest days. For the previous two years, ACW had been an interim committee and now its value as a national body for church women was becoming recognised.
After announcing national affiliation with ACW, in the report, the Queensland council summarised their previous year's programme. You can see below that this council was proactive in their outreach to the various church denominations across Queensland, as well as to the local community. The far-sighted and opportunity-creating women of this council would have been a welcome addition to the growing membership of ACW.
Here is the 1964 report submitted by the Women’s Inter-church Council of Queensland, and these points also give us a glimpse of Australia’s social history at that time.
'WOMEN'S INTER-CHURCH COUNCIL OF QUEENSLAND The year 1964 has been important for the Council, for at the Annual Meeting in November 1963, the Inter-Church Council voted to affiliate with Australian Church Women and became the State Unit of that body.
'The election of Officer Bearers resulted in a change in the Presidency — Mrs. Ashton being elected to that office, Mrs. Giezendanner having served so efficiently for the past two years. After thirteen years as Secretary, Mrs. Pearson resigned and Mrs. Dennis was elected to the position. Mrs. Potter was re-elected Treasurer. Retiring office bearers were thanked for their services.
'A communication from Australian Church Women invited a delegate to a consultation of the Interim Committee to be held in Sydney on 17th and 18th March 1964. As our President had another engagement, the Secretary was appointed to represent Queensland. Rail fares and hospitality in Sydney were provided.
'Such matters as the Constitution of Australian Church Women, the introduction of the Fellowship of the Least Coin, and study material for meetings, were discussed at the Consultation which was constituted in Wesley Chapel by the Rev. B.R. Wyllie, Master of Wesley College. Mrs. Wyllie (https://www.acw.org.au/post/the-beginnings-of-australian-church-women), Convener of the Interim Committee, presided over the meetings which were held within Wesley College, Deaconess House and at the rooms of the Australian Council of Churches, 511 Kent Street. Delegates came from all States and included women from the Armenian Apostolic, Baptist, Church of Christ, Congregational, Church of England, Greek Orthodox, Methodist, Salvation Army and Presbyterian. A special meeting of our Council was called on April 10 to hear the report of the consultation. Owing to the postal strike in Sydney, the official report did not reach us in time for this meeting but was posted to all members.
[Local business of the Women’s Inter-church Council of Queensland]
'In all, six meetings were held throughout the year and presided over by our President, Mrs. Ashton, whose opening devotions often contained thoughts from Rev. Winifred Kiek (https://www.acw.org.au/post/getting-to-know-the-reverend-winifred-kiek). We were glad to receive delegates from the Church of England and from the YWCA thus strengthening our witness and influence. 'A request to include a Women's Thanksgiving Service in the celebrations of the "Warana” Festival, was forwarded to the Warana Promotion Committee who accepted the suggestion and formed a Women's Committee to arrange the Service. Thus the Women's Thanksgiving Service for "Warana" was instituted. It was held in the Albert Hall, and we trust, will become an annual event in the programme. 'The study book, "Saints Alive” (https://www.acw.org.au/post/saints-alive) was well received and used in our studies. 'It was decided to inaugurate "World Community Day”, using the Order of Service supplied by Australian Church Women. The service was held in Ann Street Presbyterian Church, the Rev. T. Rees Thomas being guest speaker and the Presbyterian Ladies' Choir rendered an anthem and led the praise. Members of the Council conducted parts of the service and the President presented the aims of the Inter-Church Council and Australian Church Women, the Secretary introducing the Fellowship of the Least Coin (https://www.acw.org.au/the-fellowship-of-the-least-coin). A booklet tells the history of this Prayer Fellowship, and a folder gives an abridged account of its activities. The booklet "Circle of Prayer” containing devotions for two years, compiled by Christian women of the East, costing 3/-, was available to be used on [sic.] conjunction with the giving of a Least Coin. 'During the year congratulations were extended to Commissioner Coutts on his elevation to a high office, to Mrs. Trigge on her daughter's academic success, and to Mrs. Lockley on her husband's election as President-Elect of the Congregational Conference. Sympathy was extended to bereaved members. 'The Inter-Church Council was glad to send representatives to the Annual Meeting of Conferences of the Women’s Organisations of the Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Baptist, Church of Christ, Congregational, and Methodist Churches, noting the excellent work being done by the church women in Queensland, the Commonwealth, and beyond our borders. 'It was gratifying to have the Southport Inter-Church Fellowship affiliate with our Council and appoint as its representative, Mrs. Hage of Southport. 'During the year 141 notices of meetings were posted to members, and 38 letters written as well as Reports and other literature being posted to members from time to time for their information and consideration. 'Comments and suggestions regarding the draft constitution were forwarded to the Interim Committee, and it is hoped that the latest draft may be accepted as fulfilling all the aims and objects [sic.] of Australian Church Women. 'An invitation to send two delegates to the first Annual Conference is to hand. May God continue to bless and guide all associated with this tremendous forward thrust, that the impact of Christian workers may be felt throughout Australia, throughout the World, and the Light of the Gospel establish the Brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God.'
The Queensland Unit of ACW has been represented at every ACW national conference since 1965.