< Episcopal News and Current Events -- News About ECUSA: The First Mention of Women at Epiphany Episcopal News and Current Events -- News About ECUSA: The First Mention of Women at Epiphany
Today's Quote

A Prayer For This Web Site
Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices; Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"For those who Influence Public Opinion,"
Book of Common Prayer, page 827

In our church, neither a person's gender nor their sexual orientation matter; what does matter is how they serve Jesus Christ as Lord.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The First Mention of Women at Epiphany

Women have always had a very important role at Epiphany Church. The first mention of female participation was on opening day in the first meeting in April, 1872. Fr. Beatty was anxious to get started with our building, so he named three women to be on the building committee. Then there was the Ladies Aid Society which received a lot of praise. Reverend Beatty's daughter, Mrs. Anne Beatty Oliver used to have very pleasant ice-cream socials and bake sales, with the profits going toward the
building fund. But until the church was re-organized in 1904 and the Epiphany Guild started, there was no 'organized' group of women. The Epiphany Guild contributed heavily to the welfare of the church and members of the community in need for over fifty years, until it was eventually re-organized in the middle 1950's, to be replaced by St. Martha's Guild which had been organized in 1949 and the Alter Guild, which began in 1914. Also, in 1914, a women's group called St. Mary's Guild got started and continued until it was dissolved into the Epiphany Guild and combined with St. Martha's in 1971.

On May 15, 1907, our priest at the time, Father Randall and a group of women met to form the first auxiliary, which they decided to call the Emma P. Frey Branch.* In addition to the United Thank Offering and Box Supply work which they took over, they also had an educational program mostly concerning missions and mission work.
*[[Emma P. Frey was the deceased wife of Isaac M. Frey, the former Congregational minister turned Episcopal deacon who came to 'take charge' following the resignation of Fr. Canfield in 1880. His wife (Emma) died in the typhoid epidemic which hit Independence in 1880. She is buried in the original Mt. Hope cemetery, lot 196-D. The other person buried in that lot, a child of a parishoner named 'Ward' was buried there at no charge because the family was indigent. Note that Reverend Frey simply came to 'take charge'. He was not a deacon nor a priest. My thoughts are that the typhoid epidemic had caused such a disaster in our town -- probably affecting our church heavily also -- Reverend Frey simply decided to step in and try to hold our church together, for which we should be eternally grateful.

Of course, there was also the Sunday School which had been started in 1904 (see earlier message) and the women who were involved with that phase of our ministry.

By the way, Father Randall was a bachelor, and he lived with his mother in a beautiful home at Fifth and Myrtle Streets. Their home became 'the place' for Sunday afternoon tea and stimulating conversation before Evening Prayer. Father Randall and his mother were especially concerned with charity organizations (which were mostly non-existent in Independence at that time). He and his mother organized the first charity service here, it was called Associated Charities and served people throughout Independence and southeast Kansas.

In those days, we commonly had three services each Sunday at Epiphany: the two morning services at 7:30 AM and 11:00 AM and the Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. For Father Randall, that was in addition to his other duties as priest in charge of the missions at Cherryvale, Sedan, Cedar Vale, Elgin and Caney. He was also the Chaplain of the Kansas State Senate in 1910. In 1912, Aaron F. Randall tendered his resignation and relocated to Spokane, Washington.


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