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Authority record

Gaudet Normal and Industrial School

  • Family
  • 1900-1955

Frances Joseph-Gaudet, an African American woman, founded Gaudet Normal and Industrial School (New Orleans, Louisiana) in 1900. Mrs. Gaudet raised the money necessary to buy land for the school and served as its first principal.

Originally called the Gaudet Boarding School for Boys, then the Colored Industrial Home and School, it grew from a home for orphaned and disadvantaged African American children to an elementary and high school for boarders and day students.

In 1921, Mrs. Gaudet turned the school over to the Diocese of Louisiana, at which time the school came under the supervision of the American Church Institute (ACI). Gaudet developed a cooperative relationship with Dillard University, an historically black university built near the Gaudet campus in 1935. The elementary portion of Gaudet’s curriculum was discontinued by 1946, and the school then became known as Gaudet Episcopal High School. ACI continued its funding until about 1955 when the school closed and the Gaudet Episcopal Home opened in the same quarters.

Advisory Commission on Ecclesiastical Relations

  • Corporate body
  • 1931-1939

The Advisory Commission on Ecclesiastical Relations was created by the authority of the General Convention in 1931 in its revision of Canon 59(v)(v). The National Council subsequently added the Advisory Commission to its bylaws to replace the earlier Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations, that had been set up in 1927 to consider matters of expanding ecumenical relationships.

By 1935, reduced budgets made it necessary to discontinue the salaried officer. A 1937 revision to Canon 59 dropped the Commission and left oversight of this work to the Presiding Bishop and Council. The Commission and an unsalaried officer were continued with a small budget allocation. The broader ecumenical purview of the Commission was extended by Bishop Tucker in 1939, who renamed the body as the Advisory Council on Ecclesiastical Relations.

Department of Finance

  • Corporate body
  • 1919-

The Department of Finance was centered in the office of the Treasurer (a continuation of the office with the DFMS). As an administrative unit, it was a creation of the National Council in 1919, and continued until 1965 when the Executive Council reorganized. The department was charged with administering funds received by the National Council and the expenditure of funds as authorized by General Convention and the Council. It was in this capacity that the department worked with the foreign missions.

Committee on Observance of the Nation's Bicentennial

  • Corporate body
  • 1973-1976

The Committee on the Observance of the Nation's Bicentennial was appointed by Presiding Bishop John E. Hines in May 1973. The Committee was established by Executive Council and funded by an appropriation from Trust Fund 779, the Julia A. Gallaher Memorial Fund.

The Bicentennial Committee, as it was often called, was formed to assist the Church in its participation in nationwide activities commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and more broadly of the founding of the United States of America as a nation and state. It directly initiated or cooperatively sponsored special issues of Anglican Theological Review and the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church; a Church Bicentennial newsletter; a liturgy that was specially designed for the three phases of celebration; a curriculum aid for religious education; a filmstrip set; and a 16 mm moving picture film. In addition, the Committee was responsible for special programming for the General Convention 1976.

Committee on World Relief and Inter-Church Aid

  • Corporate body
  • 1950-1967

Due to the initial success of the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief (PBFWR) in the 1940s, the scope of the program was expanded over the course of 1949 and 1950. At the request of the Presiding Bishop, National Council expanded the purview of the PBFWR to encompass not only world relief, but also “church cooperation,” generally expanding the scope of its grant-funded projects and specifically enabling it to finance the costs of The Episcopal Church’s participation in the World Council of Churches. Consequently, the Presiding Bishop’s Committee on World Relief and Church Cooperation was authorized in April 1950 to make appropriations within the terms of the budget item for world relief and church cooperation.

The Presiding Bishop's Committee on World Relief and Church Cooperation formulated policy and approved grants and appropriations; however, formal grant criteria were not introduced until the 1970s. The Department of Christian Social Relations administered the operation of approved programs, which included humanitarian efforts, particularly aid to refugees, parish development, and ecumenical programs. At the February 1959 National Council meeting, it was resolved that the Committee on World Relief and Church Cooperation be renamed the Committee on World Relief and Inter-Church Aid.

One year later, in February 1960, the Committee on World Relief and Inter-Church Aid recommended to the National Council that the operational activities of the Committee become a Division of World Relief and Inter-Church Aid within the structure of the Department of Christian Social Relations.

In 1968, as the Executive Council sought to develop more efficient working structures, the Department of Christian Social Relations was dissolved, effectively ending the work of the Committee on World Relief and Inter-Church Aid.

China Mission

  • Corporate body
  • 1834-1950

At its annual Board of Directors meeting in 1834, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society passed a resolution to establish a mission in China, and appointed its first missionaries the following year. Over the next decade, the missionaries worked to establish schools to include religious training, all while continuing their own study of the people they wished to serve.

After the appointment of the Rev. William J. Boone in 1844 as the first Bishop of China, the American Church Mission at Shanghai was established. Education remained the main focus. A boys' school was founded in 1846 followed by one for girls a short time later.

Over the next several decades, the Missionary District of China would be served by four additional Bishops and witness the establishment of several medical institutions including St. Luke's Hospital and St. Elizabeth's Hospital, both in Shanghai, as well as what would become St. John's University, later the most influential higher educational institution in China.

Soon after the end of the Boxer Rebellion in 1901, which attempted to purge China of Western influences but spared the Episcopal missions from serious harm, the General Convention restructured the Mission by defining the coastal Province of Kiangsu as the Missionary District of Shanghai, while the rest of the original missionary territory became the Missionary District of Hankow. Growth dictated yet another division in 1910, and the Missionary District of Wuhu (later renamed Anking) was created, comprising the Province of Anwhei and the northern portion of Kiangsi.

After many years of political conflict, the Communist Party, headed by Mao Zedong, won control of China in 1949, ushering in atheist policies and anti-American sentiment that prompted the foreign Episcopal missionaries to gradually vacate their stations. The National Council formally recalled all its workers from China in December 1950 at the same time that the United States made it illegal to send money to China, rendering it impossible for the General Convention to fund the China missions.

Episcopal Church Women

  • Corporate body
  • 1985-

Originally authorized by the General Convention in 1871 to coordinate the work formerly conducted by a large number of isolated women’s missionary societies, The Woman’s Auxiliary to the Board of Missions initially served in an advisory role, however, the Auxiliary evolved into a planning and promotion group. The first General Meeting of the Auxiliary was held in 1874, when the women resolved to meet concurrently with General Convention and came to be known as the Triennial Meetings of the Woman’s Auxiliary.

During the 1956-1958 triennium women’s work in the Church was reorganized. The Auxiliary transitioned into a division of National Council and was renamed the General Division of Women’s Work. Rejecting the auxiliary status, diocesan organizations began to name themselves the Episcopal Church Women. Symbolic of the turbulent social climate of the late 1960s and 1970s, the Church initiated structural reorganizations aimed at integrating women into the Church on every level. As part of these changes, the General Division of Women’s Work was dissolved in 1968.

Subsequent 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. This organization reclaimed its right as the successor body to the Woman’s Auxiliary and assumed responsibility for coordinating the women’s activities in the Church and for organizing the Triennial gatherings.

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.”

Roanridge Foundation, Inc.

  • Corporate body
  • 1945-1977

In 1942, Wilbur Cochel offered his 320-acre farm, Roanridge, near Kansas City, Missouri to serve as a training and conference center for the rural mission of the Episcopal Church. In light of the Joint Commission on Rural Work’s report of 1940 calling for the promotion of rural work within the Episcopal Church, the Church accepted Mr. Cochel's offer. Other than the farm itself, programs at Roanridge were administered by the National Town and Country Church Institute (NTCCI), which held its first session on the farm in 1945.

In donating his farm and estate to the Episcopal Church, Cochel established the Roanridge Rural Training Foundation in 1947. Funding and administration of the Center was the joint responsibility of the Trustees of the Roanridge Foundation and the National Council’s Division of Town and Country. The Executive Secretary of the Division of Town and Country Work, the Rev. Clifford Samuelson, managed the Center from New York City until the appointment of the Center’s first resident director, the Rev. Norman Foote, in 1950.

In 1955, the Board of Trustees incorporated the Roanridge Rural Training Foundation as the Roanridge Rural Training Center, Inc. The corporation changed its name to the Roanridge Foundation, Inc. in 1972 with a Board of Directors constituted in the same manner as the former Board of Trustees.

Initially, Roanridge offered agricultural training, however, over time it shifted to emphasize conferences and short courses for clergy and laity. The most active of these was the Summer Parish Training Program, during which students lived and worked on the farm while serving several local rural congregations. Other noteworthy activities taking place at Roanridge included the summer Vacation Church School Program for local children, Church Army training sessions, National Episcopal Town and Country Conferences, Indian Work consultations, and meetings of the Rural Workers Fellowship and National Advisory Committee on Town and Country.

With the waning need for rural work and the financial status of the Roanridge Foundation deteriorating, the Foundation Board of Trustees voted to dissolve the Wilbur A. Cochel Trust at its meeting of August 12, 1976. Its assets were divided between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, and St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City. With the proceeds from the sale of the land, the Executive Council established the Wilbur A. Cochel, Caroline F. Cochel, and Roanridge Trust for the training of rural ministry.

Rural Workers Fellowship

  • Corporate body
  • 1924 - c. 2018

The Rural Workers Fellowship (RWF) was first organized in 1924 in Madison, Wisconsin at the National Episcopal Conference of Rural Workers, with which many of its leadership maintained a long relationship. The Fellowship’s founding bylaws stated its purpose as: (1) to promote the interest of the whole ministry to the Church in rural communities; (2) to increase the fellowship among those interested in such services; and (3) to aid the National Council in its service to the rural and field workers. While maintaining its operational independence, the RWF was very closely aligned through mission and personal relationships to The Episcopal Church’s National Council.

For many years the Department of Christian Social Service’s Division of Rural Work led the effort to support rural ministry and provided a subsidy to the RWF to that end. In 1934, the Division of Rural Work was abolished and the Department of Christian Social Service continued the work of rural church promotion as best it could.

In 1941, there was revival of the RWF in the life of the national body as the National Council reorganized and rural work became a part of the Department of Domestic Missions. In 1946, the Fellowship was incorporated and in 1947, a new constitution and bylaws were adopted. In 2005, the Rural Workers Fellowship was renamed the Rural Ministries Network. The RMN appears in The Episcopal Church Annual in 2017, however, by 2019 it was no longer listed.

House of Bishops

  • Corporate body
  • 1789-

The House of Bishops (HoB) was established in 1789, four years after the election of The Episcopal Church’s first Bishop, Samuel Seabury. All bishops of The Episcopal Church, active or retired, make up the House of Bishops, with the Presiding Bishop as president. With nearly 300 active members, the HoB comprises half of the Church’s governing body. Eligible members include all diocesan and assisting bishops elected or canonically appointed from the dioceses, area missions, and special jurisdictions of the United States and nineteen other countries, including a number of churches in Europe, Latin America, Taiwan, and Haiti.

Along with the House of Deputies (the other governing body of The Episcopal Church), the HoB meets every three years to adopt legislation. Between conventions, they meet twice a year in a non-legislative capacity and, acting in their pastoral and teaching mode, may explore issues of theological, social or mission concern.

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