National Missionary Women’s Ministry
As outcomes, the National Missionary Women’s Ministry:
- has a functioning Women’s Ministry in all churches
- is involved in evangelism, discipleship and missions locally and abroad
- ministers effectively to the members of the Women’s Ministry
- ministers effectively to the widows of Pastors
- ministers effectively to the younger women within our local churches
- creates opportunities for the ongoing training of female leaders
- is integrally involved in the life of our communities
- is involved in activities that are in keeping with the policies of the denomination
- has a strong financial base to support the objectives of the Ministry
The Women’s Ministry exists to:
- bring women of all ages to Jesus and membership in His family
- guide them towards Christ-like maturity
- equip them for ministry in the church and life mission in the world, in order to magnify God’s name.
History of the Ministry
The National Missionary Women’s Ministry, formerly known as the National Missionary Women’s Fellowship, was started by Mrs. Lurline Hanson who served as the first president from 1980 to 1983.
Mrs. Hanson was one of those women whom Lemuel, in Proverbs 31, describes as looking well to the ways of her household and not eating the bread of idleness. Surely, her husband, being among the elders of the land, was a dedicated pastor. Nevertheless, Sis Hanson, possessing strength and honour, some wisdom and most importantly, the fear of the Lord, recognized that among the ways of her spiritual household were gender-related needs, concerns, interests and missions.
The new auxiliary was strong and driven, under her direction. Her aims in starting it were to encourage fellowship and togetherness among the women of the church and mobilise their skills to serve people.
Two of the signature activities of the National Missionary Women’s Ministry were initiated by Mrs. Hanson. What a legacy of care she left! These activities have delivered on her aims. The first activity is the ‘Dorcas Club’ named after St. Luke’s inductee into the archives of the Acts of the Apostles. Like Dorcas of Bible times the ladies made and donated clothing and household linen to needy individuals, hospitals and homes for the aged in various communities. That mission has continued to enrich lives.
The second is the highly anticipated annual retreat – a respite savoured in different getaways across the island – a respite with offerings for their physical, social and spiritual needs. How else could the ladies effectively satisfy the demands on them without these yearly “unloading bays” for sharing and receiving help for burdensome matters? Surely, they needed rest, recreation and inspiration; and even then, they served others. Succeeding administrations made retreats unique in their identification and meeting of physical and social needs of citizens in the retreat locations and in their evangelization on the streets in the retreat locations. Infirmaries, children and other groups in which they retreated have been gifted with kitchen appliances and monetary donations among other things. The National Women’s Ministry had to make a positive impact even at rest!
The auxiliary grew from strength to strength under succeeding Presidents, with emphases also being placed on discipleship and evangelism. One occupation of the National Presidents has been to encourage the systematic study of God’s Word. Bible Studies as well as Area and National quiz competitions have been conducted.
The auxiliary’s encouragement of the study of God’s Word extends to members of the Missionary Church Association in Jamaica who are final year female students at the Jamaica Theological Seminary. Sponsorship of these students began with the birth of the National Bazaar. Each year fellowships have converged on Emmanuel Missionary Church according to their fellowships or areas for the selling of goods produced largely by the ladies. There has always been mutual patronage of the stalls. Proceeds of the Bazaar were contributed exclusively to the support of the female students; subsequently, the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) at Knock Patrick was also identified for support. The addition of a convention for spiritual renewal, following the fundraising Bazaar, is a demonstration of the auxiliary’s efforts to keep members spiritually moored.
Since its inception, the National Missionary Women’s Ministry has had eleven Presidents at its helm, as follows:
Local Women’s Ministry Groups
The National leadership teams have been engaged in mentorship, direction and motivation of the local fellowships for service. It is these vibrant local fellowships, engaged in numerous activities, that have served to make the National Missionary Women’s Ministry a strong auxiliary within the Missionary Church Association in Jamaica. The local group engagements have included the following:
- Adopt-a-Child / Adopt-a-Family Ministries (financing of school fees, supplies, general welfare of needy children, provisions of furniture, appliances, housing)
- Big Sister Projects (a mature sister mentors a “little sister” towards spiritual growth for six months to one year)
- Fasting and Prayer for delinquent members
- Tract distribution / Street Evangelism
- Visits/donations to Homes for the Aged and Hospitals
- Entrepreneurial projects (pig/poultry rearing)
The National President is elected by the General Conference of the denomination, for a two-year term, renewable for an additional term. The President provides general administrative leadership, presiding over national meetings of the Women’s Ministry as well as meetings of sub-committees. She gives guidance and help to local units (areas and local church fellowships), motivating them for growth and service. She reports to the Christian Education Department of which the Women’s Ministry is an auxiliary and, by extension, the General Conference.
Area Directors assist the National President to co-ordinate activities among the different fellowships in their areas. The National Missionary Women’s Ministry is divided into eight areas.
Local Church Presidents are required to liaise with Area Directors for implementation of agreed objectives.