Work for Women of the Church

This article appeared in the January 19, 1893 issue of the Christian Recorder.

The Christian Recorder is the oldest existing black periodical in America, and the only one in the United States whose existence includes publication both before and after the Civil War.

The first editor of the Christian Recorder was the Reverend M. M. Clark, who was one of the first college graduates in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Clark was a graduate of Jefferson College and was considered to be one of the best-educated men in the A.M.E. Church. He wrote that the Recorder’s focus would be religion, morality, science and literature and it was to treat all geographical areas of the A.M.E. Church equally.

Work for Women of the Church

By Mrs. N. F. Mossell

The above title was given some years back by Rev. T.G. Steward to an able paper that appeared in the Christian Recorder at that time. The paper opened this wise.

Work for Women of the Church

Work for Women of the Church

“The man who will devise some plan whereby the many pious, earnest and intelligent women of our church may employ to a much larger extent their time and talents in the service of the Lord, will confer upon the Church and upon mankind a great benefit.” (The term ‘man’ being used generally.)

Dr. Steward proves within the limits of the above mentioned article that the majority of church members were women. The largest number of literate members were women. That women were more devoted, casting aside as unworthy the charge that women’s devotion was man worship of a masculine ministry, as do we also believing not the masculine ministry, but temperament of woman forms the basis of the fact that she is more easily led toward a life of devotion, Christian or otherwise than is man.

The proportion of earnest, true, Christian women is generally admitted to be greater than that of men. Hence the larger number of educated, pious people and consequently, people best prepared to do work in the church, are to be found among the women, further claims the doctor.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

The question of finance he declines to touch, but, so do not we, but say, without fear of contradiction, than in this as in all other departments of church work; the women do their duty, and more than their duty, bearing, we believe according to their means to bear a share of the burden. Taxation without representation is unjust. We plead with Dr. Steward that women where practicable, be given employment in the various departments. The doctor says in closing, “women are nothing where religious work is to be done, everything where money is to be raised and pleads for a change in these methods, the best interests of the church, demanding more activity for the competent, pious women of the church.”

I read and was deeply impressed with this paper, but neglected to write a word at the time, but – “The worth of women ” by Mr. W.H. Jones and Rev. W.H. Mixon’s report of the Central Alabama Conference brought again forcibly to my remembrance, Dr. Steward’s paper. At the last session of the above mentioned conference according to the report, Bishop Grant organized Women’ s Day, The first Thursday in July being agreed upon as the day, it is to be perpetuated in that conference. The RECORDER beems weekly with praises of Bishop Grant from all sources and, that every word is well deserved the people of all sections and denominations are agreed.

One day last Spring I had occasion to visit the Old Folk’s Home. Here I sat on the porch listening to the service until the force beauty and pathos of the speaker drew me inside when to my surprise this proved to be Bishop Grant. To many it might have seemed but a little thing, but to me it proved much of the kindness and thoughtfulness of one who must have been received by the leaders of the General Conference to spend a few hours talking to their aged ones who had no power to have otherwise heard the new bishop. All the afternoon they were loud in their praises to the kind hearted bishop who had spoken and sung for them.

This is the first Woman’ s Day I ever heard of within church borders, and the plan is well worthy the broad liberal heart of the organizer. The usual plan is for the women to do there work and the men largely the credit. When such men as the cultured and scholarly Dr. Stewart of the far North and the broad liberal spirited Bishop Grant of the far Southland unite to give to women of the church their just dues, surely a new and brighter day is at hand. Women have worked always for the church unsystematically, but untiringly. Now train, systemize and organize their efforts, give them a say in the expenditure of the money they raise, let their work praise them within the gates, and it would throw the work of the church, especially mission work a decade ahead. Let it be so that a teacher, physician or preacher in a community would know just whom to count on to supplement their labors in the community: what a revolution it would work in a community. The women of the race and church should give all praise to such men as Dr. Stewart and Bishop Grant who appreciate the power for good that the women of their race may become in this brighter day of our history and we hope that the women will show their appreciation by doing nobly their duty on that Thursday in July even if it is the inveritable money raising, still it will be Women’ s Day and so recorded in the conference report.

Source: Christian Recorder, January 19, 1893

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