Ladies Aid and Missionary Society History
The year was 1896. In the well established church at Willseyville the ladies of the
congregation recognized needs going unfilled. The feminists met on several occasions to discuss
those matters. The result was the birth of the Ladies Aid Society complete with constitution.
The fledgling Society quickly went to work packing boxes with essential dry goods for home
use to be used locally and abroad. The quilted, bought fire wood for church heating, purchased
song books and collected items for the Sunshine Fund and Birthday box including money gifts.
In addition they helped White Cross make up first aid materials. On a short term basis they
would adopt a family that was extremely needy. The work of their hands went as far as Hungary,
Russia, and the Philippines.
As one might expect by the name, membership was restricted to ladies 15 years of age and up.
Associate memberships were granted to the gentlemen some years later. But, the running of the
organization and the conducting of business rested in the hands of the women. Monies for
operation were generated through a membership fee ($.25) monthly dues ($.05) and
Meetings were held monthly at a members home. A typical meeting found the gathering
singing, praying, reading the Word, conducting business and working on one of the many
The minutes for November 1945 carried this amusing yet felicitous note, "Pastor Cline read
another portion of the book, Papa Was A Preacher. We are enjoying it very much."
The success of the Ladies Aid Society prompted the church to consider reaching into the
world through missions and missions related works. Under Pastor Wallace Stevens and his wife
Gertrudes leadership the church gave birth to the Gertrude Stevens Missionary Society in 1940.
By May of 1952 the Society was functioning well enough that the Ladies Aid Society was
disbanded. The ladies then joined the mission society where several of its purposes were still
Membership in the new society was open to both men and women. The holding of office and
voting privileges however was limited to those 21 years of age and over.
Activities of the new society included the sending of relief kits around the world, writing
local servicemen away on active duty, keeping in touch with former members moved away, shut-ins,
giving to special needs at home and abroad, contributing regularly to missionaries and mission
works and aiding the White Cross in their work. On occasion visiting missionaries were heard
The annual report for 1942 gave the figure of $25.00, "sent as our Mission Quota." the
minutes add, "all of this money was obtained by voluntary contributions." By 1947-48 five years
later giving rose to $185.35 or better than 7 times the original "quota." Today the budget is
$2,750. On October 16, 1945 the young society took on its first annual financial responsibility.
Each December it would send $5.00 to the American Bible Society. In late 1946 mission
envelopes were employed for systematic giving. Then in the Spring of 1951 Miss Gladys Jones
was pledged $108.00 annual support. Today the society sends support to eight missionaries and
four mission type works.
Attendance at meetings fluctuated over the years. Sometimes there were but six. At other
times as many as twenty-five answered to roll call. Three meetings were always well attended,
the annual picnic in July, the Thanksgiving program, and the Christmas party.
The following note from the minutes of 1942 - the Second War era - on attendance is of
we have tried to continue our work as well as possible and have
kept a close union with our Savior at all our meetings."
Mrs. Alice Cook
On the other hand attendance at the Christmas party 1950, post war era was reported as
an excellent attendance." the following people took part.
Scripture Reading and Comment - Rev. Cline
Recitation - Audrey Oltz
A Letter - Mrs. Pichany
Piano Solo - Marjorie Cook
The Youngest Shepherd - Alice Cook
Baritone and Trombone Duet - Robert and Ronald Kellogg
Solo - Betty Neal
Recitation - Richard Oltz
Trumpet Solo - Bernice Manning
Solo - Dixie Manning
Duet - Rev. and Mrs. Cline
Incidentally, the Gertrude Missionary society celebrates its 35th year, 1952-1987.
As the society heads into the next decade it pauses to thank God for His faithfulness. Not
once has she faulted in her commitments to the missionaries. This was possible because the
society was KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD.
Mrs. Jeanette Benjamin
Ladies Aid and Missionary