Australian Church Women seeks to unite Christian women across denominational boundaries and to promote peace, understanding and unity through faith and love in one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
To unite Christian women in fellowship through their allegiance and commitment to their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
To promote understanding, co-operation and reconciliation between men and women in Church, family and society.
To help Christian women take a more effective place in the total life and mission of the Church.
To provide opportunities and encouragement to Christian women of different denominations to worship, work, and serve God together to the glory of God and the extension of His Kingdom.
To encourage fellowship and service across national and international boundaries.
For over 60 years, women of the major churches have grown together as a group of friends meeting with a single purpose: to strive together to establish God’s Kingdom in our world.
1939 The Seed is Sown
During her term as President of the National Free Church Council of England, Mrs E James (wife of a former Minister of the Independent Church, Melbourne) suggested, via the Congregational Women’s Association of Victoria, that an interdenominational organisation might be formed in Victoria.
1940 Women’s Inter-Church Council (WICC)
The Baptist Women’s Association of Victoria invited representative church women to a meeting to consider this suggestion. Miss Janet Barker (Congregational) noted that there was 'a Women’s Inter-Church Council of New South Wales'.
Mrs John Downing (Hon. Sec. of the Baptist Women’s Association in Victoria) called a conference, held in October of that year, to discuss 'The Unity of Christian Women'. Present were two representatives each from the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, and the Churches of Christ denominations.
A further meeting agreed that 'a provisional committee be elected with Mrs F Howden (Congregational) as Acting Secretary'. This committee drew up recommendations for the formation of a 'Women’s Inter-Church Council of Victoria', and Mrs FW Head (wife of the Archbishop) advised that a constitution for the Council should be kept as simple as possible.
1941 It Shows Life
On Friday, 13 June, a well-attended meeting of women, representing the above-mentioned denominations, adopted the constitution (subject to the approval of the said denominations), and The Women’s Inter-Church Council of Victoria came into being. The theme they promoted was 'Christian Women Working Together Can Change the World'.
First appointments were:
President, Mrs HD Downing (Baptist)
Secretary, Mrs DH Peart (Methodist)
Treasurer, Mrs HC Bischoff (Churches of Christ)
The Salvation Army joined the WICC in 1942.
1963 Australian Council of Churches authorised the Formation of Australian
1991 Friends of Australian Church Women
Our Victorian Unit added an additional category of membership—'Friends of ACW', open to all interested persons, with an annual subscription fee to cover mailing costs.
'As the present has grown from the past, so the future depends on what is accomplished in our day. This is how history is made. Progress cannot be assessed by outward results in the things of the Spirit, but we go forward in the work and witness of the Council, believing that the widening circles of opportunity in this our day, will provide for future generations to continue the work and extend it.'
(Source: A History of the Victorian Unit of Australian Church Women, to Commemorate the Golden Jubilee 1941-1991.)