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The gift of God’s Holy Spirit

An item from the June 1973 Australian Church Women (ACW) newsletter caught my eye because of its relevance to Pentecost and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. It is a report on the ‘Induction of New President for the Women's Inter-church Council of N.S.W.’

Win Dougherty

‘On Monday, 21st May at a "service of celebration and dedication" the induction took place of Mrs. Win Dougherty in the Chatswood Central Methodist Church as the Federation of Methodist Women's nominee of President of the Women's Inter-Church Council of N.S.W. Mrs. Dougherty takes over from Mrs. Nancy Pfeiffer, the Presbyterian nominee for 1972.

‘Mrs. Dougherty comes to her position as President with a wealth of experience having been its Secretary for three years from 1967. She also had wide experience in community affairs in her role as Lady Mayoress of Willoughby during her husband's term of office.

‘In a symbolic gesture, the Past President handed to the Incoming President, the President's Bible "the Living Word of God, in token of your acceptance of responsibility by the fullest use of your abilities and talents and your willingness to serve, that the light of the Word continues to shine with ever increasing brilliance to the glory of Almighty God whose creatures we are".

‘In accepting the Bible, Mrs. Dougherty acknowledged her "complete dependence on God's Grace and His Word, and offered her solemn promise of the best that she could bring in willing service for the fulfilment of His purposes". Then the President and members of the Executive moved to the Communion rail while the choir sang "Holy Spirit, Truth Divine". There they all "consecrated to the Lord's service their offering of personality, character, talent and ability that the lives so dedicated may be channels through which the Council shall be used to bring blessing to Christian women in this State.

‘When the new President addressed the congregation, she stressed the need for prayer, faithfulness in reading of what Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer had done and said, and emphasised the need to listen always to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. She reiterated the words from the reading earlier of St. John's Gospel, "This I command you, love one another”.

‘The service was most inspiring and the spiritual content was further enhanced by the beautiful singing of the choir of most appropriate hymns.

‘The Council supports the Winifred Kiek Scholarship which is sponsored by Australian Church Women, and the occasion was made most unique in that two Winifred Kiek Scholars were present: Miss Violet Sampa from Zambia, Scholar for 1971 and Miss Kalpana Airan from North

India, Scholar for 1973.

‘The President and Council went to the porch and personally greeted all present and invited them to lunch in the Methodist Activity Centre, where nearly two hundred women were entertained.’


The Honouring Australian Church Women (HACW) book tells us that ‘In 1977 Win was appointed to the position of National President of ACW and led a team of NSW women for two years. She chaired the National Conference in Sydney in 1979. It was at this Conference that a delegation from Church Women United (USA) came on a “Causeway Visit”*. Win later returned this visit leading a team of Australian women to the United States.

‘In 1977 the NSW Unit made Win Dougherty a Life Member.

‘During 1978 she was the Australian representative to the Asian Church Women’s Conference in Japan. Win served both as a Methodist and a Uniting Church delegate to ACW with great distinction. Her knowledge of and interest in ACW was profound. She was a tireless worker for all organisations in which she served. NSW members of ACW are grateful for all the association we have had with this great lady.’


*Causeway was a program of Church Women United (USA), and its aim was ‘to encourage common understanding and mutual motivation between Christian women in other lands and those in the USA’.


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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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