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Authority record

World Mission in Church and Society

  • Person
  • c. 1931-1989

World Mission in Church and Society has been known by a number of titles over the years. Initially called the Foreign Mission Department of the National Council, it was changed to the Overseas Department after the reorganization of National Council in October of 1942. From 1969 to 1971 the office was known as Overseas Relations, and from 1972 to 1974 it was called Jurisdictional Relations. In 1975, it became the Department of Mission under the executive direction of Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning. In 1978, the department became known as National and World Mission, and finally in 1980, World Mission in Church and Society.

As the Church’s conception of overseas work evolved, so did the work of the office. While it continued to support schools, hospitals, and missions established during the Church's early involvement overseas, the focus increasingly turned to the cultivation of networks of support between independent churches in the Anglican Communion. The Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence (MRI) program of the early 1960s committed the Church to sharing its resources generously with struggling Anglican dioceses around the globe seeking their footing in newly-independent nations. The Overseas Department (as it was still known at that time) was heavily involved in coordinating funding, sending workers, and setting up channels of communication with these groups.

From the MRI program, other initiatives evolved, including Partners in Mission and Companion Diocese relationships, intended to connect the American church with Anglican partners across the globe on a personal basis through cultural study, discussion, and mission work. While much of the work in these programs was diocesan, the office coordinated these efforts on the national level. It also administered a certain amount of funding from the Venture in Mission program as seed-money to aid overseas dioceses with much-needed infrastructure and other projects.

Apart from its work with the global Anglican Communion, the office also worked on ecumenical matters, participating in initiatives of the Church World Service, the National Council of Churches, and other ecumenical organizations. In 1989, World Mission in Church and Society became the International Ministries sub-group of the Witness and Outreach Committee of the Executive Council.

Woman's Auxiliary

  • Corporate body
  • 1871-1968

In 1871, the General Convention authorized The Woman's Auxiliary to the Board of Missions to coordinate the work formerly conducted by a large number of isolated women's missionary societies. This work included raising funds, publicizing the missionary programs, and recruiting and training women missionaries. The Emery sisters–Mary Abbott, Julia Chester, Susan Lavinia, and Margaret Theresa–were all instrumental in the founding of the organization.

The first General Meeting of the Auxiliary was held in 1874, at which time the women resolved to meet concurrently with General Convention. These meetings came to be known as the Triennial Meetings of the Woman's Auxiliary. In 1889 Julia Chester Emery, who at the time was secretary of the Woman’s Auxiliary, began the United Offering (later renamed United Thank Offering) which provided funds for a wide range of innovative missionary projects.

In 1919, the first National Council Executive Board of the Woman’s Auxiliary was formed to oversee the direction of the work of the women, not only in supporting missionaries, but in social service, religious education, and prayer and worship.

At the 1958 Triennial Meeting, under the direction of the National Council, necessary bylaws were adopted to rename the Executive Board of the Woman’s Auxiliary as the General Division of Women’s Work, which included a designation that diocesan groups would be known as Episcopal Church Women.

Symbolic of the turbulent social climate of the late 1960s, the role of women in the Church went through numerous and significant changes, rendering the Episcopal Church Women unsure of where they fit. Structural reorganizations were initiated aiming to integrate women into the Church on every level. As a part of these changes, Executive Council (formerly National Council) dissolved the General Division of Women's Work in 1968.

Subsequently, the Triennial Meetings were organized by various ad hoc committees until the 1985 gathering, at which time bylaws were adopted forming the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) at the national level. A resolution was filed at the June 1986 meeting of Executive Council confirming that the newly formed Episcopal Church Women “is the same or successor organization to the Woman’s Auxiliary, the General Division of Women’s Work, the Committee for Women, the Triennial Program and Planning Committee, and the Triennial Committee”.

The ECW assumed responsibility for coordinating women's activities in the Church and for organizing the Triennial gatherings.

Wilson, Frank Elmer

  • Person
  • 1885-1944

Born on May 21, 1885, in Kittaning, Pennsylvania, Frank Wilson graduated from Hobart College in 1907. He graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity from General Theological Seminary in New York in 1910 and was ordained a priest later that year. After serving in various churches and as an Army chaplain during World War I, he became rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1919. In 1928, Wilson was elected as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Eau Claire and was consecrated in 1929.

Frank Elmer Wilson died in office on February 16, 1944.

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