This Week in AG History — March 29, 1959
By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 28 March 2019
Sixty years ago the National Women’s Ministries of the Assemblies of God was known as the Women’s Missionary Council (WMC). The WMC was founded by Mrs. Etta Calhoun of Houston, Texas, who felt that Spirit-baptized women, properly organized, could accomplish much more for the kingdom of God than by separate individual efforts.
With permission of the district presbyter of the Houston section, Calhoun organized the first Women’s Missionary Council at Morwood Mission in February 1925. The original group of women met for intercessory prayer for missionaries, and this evolved into also finding practical ways to provide support for missions. From that small beginning, other churches in Texas quickly adopted this idea, and Calhoun became the first district WMC president.
WMC groups soon developed in other states. Eighteen districts had organized programs by 1947. At the 1951 General Council, a resolution authorized the establishment of a national office to coordinate the various district activities of the WMC. By 1955 every district in the Fellowship had organized a WMC program. Edith Whipple was chosen as the first national WMC secretary.
In the March 29, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Mildred Smuland, national WMC representative, featured WMC activities in the Oklahoma district in an article called, “Achievements Through Sharing.” She outlined that in Oklahoma the district WMC president would be given part of an afternoon service at each of the sectional councils to promote WMC and its activities. Mrs. R. E. Goggin, the Oklahoma district WMC president shared, “Another feature of our sectional councils last year was the banquets we had for the ladies.” She said the banquets not only provided a nice time of fellowship, but they gave opportunity to share matters which they did not have time to share in the afternoon service at the various councils. “Last year the emphasis at the banquets was the ‘adoption’ of our missionaries and their children,” reported Goggin. One of the main projects of the Oklahoma WMC was to fill large steel drums with groceries and linens and quilts to send to the missionaries. Each section was encouraged to bring enough supplies to fill one drum. The response was so tremendous that Goggin wrote, “We have already given away 14 drums filled with linens and groceries and have almost that many more on hand.”
In the same issue of the Evangel, Edith Whipple, national WMC Secretary, wrote a “Current Comments” column which reported on the new WMC theme for 1959: “For Such a Time Thou Art Come.” Whipple said, “While we emphasize the urgency of the present time — and rightly so — I feel that we should give special consideration to the second phrase of our theme, ‘THOU art come.’” She felt like the Lord was looking for women to carry a burden for intercession on behalf of the missionaries and for the local churches. There was also a need for godly mothers to set an example for their children. She emphasized that “The Women’s Missionary Council is made up of women of good works … YOU may be called to sacrifice something for the work of God.”
The WMC became the forerunner of today’s national Women’s Ministries. And ministry to women has continued to grow across the United States and in other countries. Today National Women’s Ministries exists to challenge and equip women to passionately pursue God and to influence the world.
Read about the WMC on pages 20-21of the March 29, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “A Pastor’s Look at the Mission Field,” by J. Boyd Wolverton
• “Taking the Good News to the Deaf,” by Kenneth Swenson
• “Still Growing! BGMC,” by Bobbi Crabtree
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
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