Church Histories - Historical Sketch of the Presbyterian Women's Missionary Society (1924).
This article was originally published in the November 5, 1924 issue of the "Rural Valley Advance."
It was reprinted in "Rural Valley Presbyterian Church: The First Hundred Fifty Years."
Due to lack of space in last week's issue, we were unable to print the Historical Sketch of the Women's Missionary Society of the Rural Valley Presbyterian Church in connection with the account of the services.
During the service the charter members, who reside here, were seated in the front of the church, back of the pulpit, where they were the distinguished guests of honor.
Prior to the closing exercises the pastor, Rev. U. S. Bartz, delivered a short address to the guests of honor and presented each with three beautiful pink roses. A former pastor, Rev. Francis Miron of New Bethlehem, who served this church from 1890 to 1895, was present and was presented with one of the roses as likewise was Mrs. U. S. Bartz, wife of the pastor, from the supply which had not been used. At this point in the service the pastor discovered that he had one rose not presented to anyone and the situation the pastor was in Rev. Miron asked for the additional rose which was cheerfully handed to him and who in turn, with a few well chosen words, presented it to the worthy pastor.
The greetings from out of town members and friends were read by the following parties: Mrs. Martha Bowser of Greensburg by Mrs. Ella Bowser; Mrs. Irene Cowan Brown of China by Miss Mary Cowan; Mrs. Minnie Helliwell of New York by Mrs. G. L. Stewart; Mrs. Martha Kerr of Orangeville by Helen Ambrose; Rev. and Mrs. C. P. Metzer of New York by Mrs. J. R. McConnell; Rev. and Mrs. J. R. Mohr of Freedom by Mrs. O. C. Turney.
The verbal greetings and address of the evening was very ably delivered by Rev. Miron.
Work of Missions and Historical Sketch.
Ever since the organization of the Rural Valley Presbyterian Church, the Mission work has been one of its main lines of church work, but in its earlier years this subject was not thought to be of so much importance as it has been more recently.
About the last of October 1874 Miss Loring, a returned Missionary from Syria, lectured in the Presbyterian Church at Rural Valley, making known to the people the cause of the suffering heathen and earnestly besought the people to give their attention to this subject.
As a result of this meeting a Missionary Society called the Rural Valley Auxiliary of Women's Foreign Missionary Society was partly organized. The organization was completed November 26, 1874 having a membership of 25 charter members, five of whom are still living, namely: Mrs. J. M. Pettigrew, Mrs. Chalmers Cowan, Mrs. John Gourley, Mrs. Ella Martin and Miss Mary Simpson.
The following officers were elected: Pres., Mrs. M. H. Morgan; Vice Pres., Mrs. Margaret McFarland and Mrs. Jane Sloan; Secretary, Miss Ella Caruthers (Mrs. Martin); Treasurer, Mrs. Alexander Patrick; the board of managers were Mrs. M. A. Ambrose, Mrs. Jane Totten, Miss Amanda Neal, Mrs. Mary Fleming, Mrs. Margaret McIntosh, Mrs. Sallie Ewing.
The aim of this society was to aid the general Society in sending to foreign fields and supporting lady missionaries, Bible Readers and teachers who would labor among the heathen women and children.
Any person could become a member of this society on payment of 50 cents annually.
Order of program in 1874:
- Devotional Exercises
- Calling the Roll
- Reading, correcting and approving minutes
- Report of Committees
- 15 minutes talks on general interest of Society
- Unfinished business
- Appointment of committees
In 1912 the Home Missionary Society was organized and the name was changed to the Home and Foreign Missionary Society.
In 1915 the name was changed and Missionary Society having Home and Foreign Departments.[sic]
Some of our young men have entered into the work. Anderson Forbes, a son of one of your pastors [is] a missionary to the Sandwich Islands.
Rev. Rhea Ewing, a baptized member of this church with Rev. James McCombs, labored in India; Rev. Samuel Fleming, a former Synodical Missionary in Kansas and one lady, Mrs. Irene Cowan Brown, one of our members, at present working in China.
Some donations and offerings of the Society: January 11, 1875, $25.00 for building a house for Miss Belz in India; July 12, 1876, $25.00 to general fund also $5.00 to Rev. Ewing of Kittanning for preaching anniversary sermon, November 7, 1875; January 19, 1888, $15.00 for support of Miss Wherry in India. General Fund $8.00, October, 1899. A silver offering was taken and the organization of the Society to this date contributions amounting to $724.75 have been sent. 1890 contributions amounted to $25.00. May 20, 1914 Society voted to give 50 Bibles printed in Italian language to Italian people. December 1914 $5.00 was donated for rebuilding the Dwight Memorial. March 17, 1915 Report of Treasurer showed an increase in contributions the largest in history of society to date. Contributions for year 1918, $192.00 including Light Bearers and Young People Offerings; 1923 special donations of $200.00 to society by a charter member. Also a free will offering of $200.00 by all church members, greater part of which was given by Mrs. Hannah E. Huber.
A Few Special Meetings.
August 20, 1879 - Mrs. Rhea Ewing talks at an anniversary meeting.
September 17, 1879 - A meeting long to be remembered by those who were there. Rev. Rhea Ewing being present who with his wife are about to sail for India.
January 1915 - Address by Miss Bessie Lawton, a missionary from India.
January 23, 1918 - Resolutions of respect were passed for the members who have passed from their earthly labor; these included Miss Mary Caruthers, Mrs. T. D. McColgin and Miss Mary Patterson.
August 21, 1918 - An interesting meeting at which short addresses were given by Rev. and Mrs. J. R. Mohr of Natrona.
September 25, 1918 - An all day meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Mary Kime. Mrs. Irene Cowan Brown being present gave interesting talks in regard to her husband's work in China.