The Beginning of a Wonderful Opportunity
The Winifred Kiek Scholarship (WKS) is a wonderful opportunity for young Christian women to be financially supported for a year of further study. This scholarship programme was the second project to be considered by the Interim Committee of Australian Church Women (ACW), and they launched the WKS in 1964.
Once the first ACW National Committee was inaugurated, in 1965, the Working Committee began work on developing a policy for the Winifred Kiek Scholarship.
This policy was necessary to establish eligibility for the scholarship, as well as parameters for the administration of this programme. Turning to the 1966 working documents for the National Committee Meeting, we can read the rationale for implementing that first policy.
‘The need for a clearly defined policy having to do with the selection of scholarship holders, the relationship of Australian Church Women with Inter-Church Aid, and other aspects of this subject were apparent. At the Working Committee meeting on May 25 , it was requested that the Rev. H. L. Perkins, Mrs. F. Stafford and Miss Skiller prepare a proposed policy. This was submitted to the Working Committee meeting on July 27 and approved.’
I won’t bore you with the outdated terms of the policy or the ten recommendations. It will suffice to say they mainly concerned the close working arrangements with related Christian bodies and the newly formed State ACW Units. Also, the qualifications for committee members such as including those who had experience with overseas students in both academic and institutional life, and who could readily understand the problems that would face individuals coming from different cultural backgrounds.
The policy was ratified by the National Committee Meeting, followed by two resolutions.
That the recommendations concerning the working arrangements for the scholarship holder’s programme be adopted.
That the first undertaking of the Winifred Kiek National Scholarship Committee be to examine and redraft, as considered necessary, the two documents – the Policy and the Recommendations – (the wisdom of the insertion of a clause in the Policy to protect the Scholarship Holder from being involved in the acceptance of too many invitations to address Church meetings was emphasised).
This clause to prevent the Scholarship Holder accepting too many invitations was necessary to prevent their studies being disrupted.
The decision of the National Committee Meeting that a National Scholarship Committee be formed was put into effect following the 1966 meeting of the Working Committee. This meeting was convened by Deaconess Mary Andrews (https://www.acw.org.au/post/honouring-australian-church-women), and the meetings were held regularly. The committee was also required to present regular reports to, and consult with, the Working Committee of Australian Church Women on matters of policy and finance.
Over the next 20 years, the policy underwent several updates before the WKS Trust was formed in 1987.
The Rev. Winifred Kiek wanted to express her appreciation at being honoured by this scholarship being named after her, and she donated $100 to the scholarship fund for investment. At the request of the Working Committee this amount was invested by the Australian Council of Churches in Commonwealth Special Bonds at the current rate of interest.
Today, the offerings received at the Australian Church Women Fellowship Day Services, held throughout Australia in July each year, are invested and the interest is used to finance the scholarship. Additional donations are encouraged and may be made at any time to the Winifred Kiek Scholarship fund through State and Territory Units or the National Executive.