The National Association Women of the Church of God are Christian women united across the United States (including members from Atlantic and Caribbean countries and Kenya) to honor God and celebrate one another.
An NAWCG woman is proud of her culture and heritage. She appreciates the deep, rich legacy that is the inheritance of her foremothers. Looking into the past she’s able to see The Hand of God moving on the hearts of the women who have founded and have sacrificed for the National Association of the Church of God and NAWCG ministry and she’s not ashamed to be associated with them.
We, along with our partners in ministry, are committed to “Embracing the Opportunities” that God gives us at every stage of our lives with “Courage, Faith and Love.”
NAWCG women have the COURAGE to embrace whatever circumstance God has presented to us knowing that all things are orchestrated by God for our good and His Glory.
NAWCG women have FAITH through every life stage and challenge trusting in The Lord’s Promise that He will be with us and we will not be overcome but are overcomers.
Finally, LOVE is the most important of the mandates for every ministry. If we don’t have love when approaching our life and ministry then all our labor will be in vain. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” II Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
History of the National Association Women of the Church of God by Reverend Mrs. Myrtle Hill
From the very beginning of the West Middlesex Pennsylvania Church of God Campground, “The women did what they could to help the men. The buildings were crude and simple, but we didn’t think so. We were happy as if we had mansions; we felt so good — shouts could be heard all over the place. There was much hard work, but we were happy. There were ticks to be filled with hay and carried, meals to be cooked and homemade stoves or old stoves out-of-doors, fires to be made which wouldn’t burn even after we coaxed them with old grease and skins. We had no place to put things. What a time we had with those old dishes, cooking vessels, scrubbing rusty knives and forks with sand, while singing praises to God as we worked,” says Mother Priscilla Wimbish1
“Mother Wimbish was chosen the “Missions” first president in 1917, but most of her time was spent cooking in the Restaurant’s kitchen. Sister Jeter had charge of the 1:15 P.M. service each day until Wednesday’s Mission Day, then Mother Wimbish would be in charge. Mother Wimbish worked as long as she could, and it was God’s will that she died as the first president of West Middlesex’s Women’s Mission a bouquet small for 32 years of faithful consecrated service.” 2
The purpose of our work through the years has been the same, “Women doing what they can to help the men at West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.”
After Mother Wimbish’s passing in 1949, Reverend Mrs. Ophelia Griffin of Bessemer, Alabama, was chosen as our second president and Reverend Mrs. Viola Reid of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania our third president (this order may be reversed as it was not established which one was first). 3
Our fourth president was Reverend Mrs. Joe Mae Whitehead of East St. Louis, Illinois elected in 1951. Under her leadership we obtained a listing of our president’s name in the 1955 Yearbook of the Church of God as “Home Mission National President.” In the 1959 Yearbook of the Church of God a full page listing the full organizational structure with each officers name appeared as “The National Women’s Missionary Society of the Church of God.” Reverend Mrs. Katie R. Davis’ name was listed as Historian—she compiled documents about our Campground; from there she wrote the most valued book in the history of National Association of the Church of God – “ZION’S HILL at West Middlesex.” Sister Whitehead served faithfully with much prayer and perseverance until her death in 1962.
Mrs. Mary J. Jefferson of Cleveland, Ohio was the fifth president. Mrs. Marie Jones of Detroit, Michigan became our sixth president in 1963 or 1964. She served until her health failed in 1971.
It was in 1964 that a new organization for women was formed—“The Women’s Organization of the Church of God” with Reverend Mrs. Naomi Patterson as its first president. This organization was listed in the 1965 Yearbook of the Church of God with a half page, stating its goals and purposes as follows:
- “To promote moral, cultural, and spiritual growth in women of the church.
- To develop leadership among the women of the church.
- To deepen the spiritual life of the women of the church.
- To widen the mental horizons of the women of the church by encouraging higher education, courses of study, and enlargement of work among the women of the church.
- To provide avenues through which all the women of the church can work with a deeper concern, regardless of limitations.”
This new organization did much work on the campground. The members beautified two or more rooms, cared for lodging, linens and maintained an Annual Convention through the leadership of its first and last president, Reverend Mrs. Naomi Patterson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Mrs. L. Pearl Shields of Cleveland, Ohio.
In August 1971 our seventh president of the National Women’s Home Missionary Society was elected, Reverend Mrs. Rebecca Lamar of Fairmont ,West Virginia and Myrtle Hill was elected as Mission Education Director or Campmeeting Conference Leader. Our Conferences begin to experience growth while Sister Lamar served. She served until August 1973.
The eighth president of the Missionary Society was Mrs. Ruth Dugan of Detroit, Michigan. In this election Reverend Mrs. Myrtle Hill of Newport News, Virginia was re-elected Mission Education Director. The continual growth of this Society necessitated a larger Conference Room. We were blessed to find a large space in the lower level of the New Tabernacle.
As an outgrowth of our Finance Conference of 1977 we developed a “MiniBazaar” in 1978. Yes, this was the same year Reverend Mrs. Mary Morgan was elected as our ninth president and Myrtle Hill was re-elected as our Mission Education Director or Campmeeting Conference Leader.
The title of our 1978 Finance Conference was “How To Run A Bazaar” as we shared in this Conference, we actually planned our “1979 International Bazaar.” Our “1979 International Bazaar” was successful through the grace of God and united International Sisterhood efforts. Yes, we had gifts from Africa, Lebanon, Antigua, West Indies and white and black sisters nationwide. For the first time more than $1,200 was raised. As we had planned we bought 100 steel chairs and paid about half of the payment on our carpet for our Conference Room with monies from this Bazaar.
During the 1978 West Middlesex Campmeeting, the Ministers had the Women’s Organization and the Missionary Society to meet together to consider a merger of the two groups. First, the officers of the two groups agreed to the merger. Second, the Officers of both groups presented their agreement to the women—each group accepted it. After the planning sessions with Reverend Rudolph Smith, Robert Culp, Ronald Fowler, Lawrence Wyatt, Frank Matthews and Robert Leeper—the Women’s Organization Sister L. Pearl Shields, Dorothy Harris, and Wyatt – from the Missionary Society Reverend Mrs. Mary Morgan, Myrtle Hill and Dora Champion; by-laws were structured; a nominating committee was formed and an election was held; the following were elected August 5, 1979: Myrtle Hill, president; L. Pearl Shields, 1st Vice President, Dorothy E. Askerneese, 2nd Vice President; Susie Rice, Recording Secretary, Evelyn Small, Corresponding Secretary; Dora W. Champion, Financial Secretary-Treasurer; Rozena Marshall, Parlimentarian; Carrie Rush, Historian; Mary Robinson, Stewardship Director; Mary Boyd, Mission Education Director; Cleora N. Hunter, Spiritual Life Director; Christine Benn, Finance Director. Thus the National Association Women of the Church of God came into being with a Preamble stating, “We the Women of the Church of God, West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, a non-profit organization, recognize the Bible as the only divine standard of faith and practice, and as our final authority in all matters pertaining to the advancement of the Kingdom of God among women. This organization is effected for religious, charitable and educational purposes to advance the Kingdom of God among women and the growth and advancement of the National Campground of West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, and to support the development expansion of the National Association of the Church of God, West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.”
This new Organization voted to have Annual paid membership of $2.00 per member August 18, 1979. In August 1980 our membership was from twenty States, Washington, D.C., Barbados, West Indies, and Kingston, Jamaica with a total of more than three-hundred members.
In October 1979 the National Association’s Executive Council requested NAWCG to have Annual Bazaars and to receive Annual Thanksgiving Offerings. In April, 1980 NAWCG’s Executive Committee accepted these recommendations with the understanding that the Thanksgiving Offering would first be approved by the Ministerial Assembly. This Committee elected Carrie Rush of Cincinnati, Ohio chairman of the Thanksgiving Offering. We voted to give 90% of this Offering to the National Association’s Budget, and retain 10% for special projects.
“Bazaar 1980,” with Carrie Rush chairman and Christine Benn co-chairman, sales exceeded $1,200. This Bazaar was successful because women were united to give nationwide. Barbadoes, West Indies and Kingston, Jamaica. Our carpet was paid in full from this sale. Christine Benn was appointed “Bazaar 1981) chairperson.
Other traditions shared by the Society through the years are: leading the 6:00 A.M. Communion Service on Wednesday with the Deacon-Deaconess Board, National Ushers, National Music Department and Ministers working in full harmony. Our “Fun and Fellowship” is kept alive in our Annual Tea as talents are given opportunities for usage.
- Katie Davis, Zion’s Hill at West Middlesex (Corpus Christi, Texas; Christian Press) pp 13-14.
- Kbid., pp. 97 and 17.
- Material came from Conferences led by Myrtle Hill from eye-witnesses of the Missionary Society in 1977-1979 at West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.