This month, the EFCA celebrates the 115th anniversary of the Women’s Missionary Society, founded by Hulda Jacobson, a Swedish immigrant in Chicago. After sharing about the needs of two single, female missionaries in China, the women from five Swedish Free Churches in Chicago came together to support missions.
The new Women’s Missionary Society’s first goal was to raise funds for a missionary residence in Canton, China. Soon, women from Free Churches in five states joined them. By 1916, they had raised $12,000 to give the residence debt-free to the EFCA Conference.
The Society’s first president, Josephine Princell, led much of the initial growth with her natural leadership gifts, good education and great vision. The Women’s Missionary Society was granted formal affiliation with the EFCA in 1909 and churches across the country began to form chapters. Jacobson served for two decades as the recording secretary.
Over the years, they took on the support of some of our women in the field, typically one from each field. But they also undertook annual projects for different fields, including Tandala Hospital in Congo, student housing in Venezuela, land in Japan, furnishings for the Trinity Chapel and dozens of others. Over the years, they contributed over $100,000 to the mission of the EFCA.
In 1949, many EFCA groups began White Cross ministry, making and shipping supplies for the mission hospitals and orphanages, among other needs.
Although this women’s ministry doesn’t exist at the national level today, countless churches have their own groups still serving faithfully in their local context and supporting mission work around the world.
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