19 November 2010

Woman's Missionary Society, First Congregational Church, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Here's a little excerpt from a register of the minutes of the Women's Missionary Society of the Shrewsbury Congregational Church. It's quite interesting in how it reveals the women of 1915 dealing with women's issues. Just a few of the things they discussed were childrearing, immigration, education of women, missionary work overseas, and of course, religion. They sang, discussed issues of the day, held fundraisers, did crafts together, prayed and did all they could to learn about the world outside of Shrewsbury.

The very neatly written register. A joy to transcribe!

March 18, 1915

On Thursday afternoon, March 18th, the
regular meeting of the Woman’s Missionary Society
was held in the Vestry. The meeting was opened
by the president, Mrs. Cook, who read the account
of Christ’s being found in the Temple in serious
conversation with the learned doctors of the Law.
Prayer was offered and the secretary’s report
was read and approved. The usual offering
was taken. 

Miss Grace Marion Holland, one of the many young ladies who went abroad to serve as a missionary, in India. Her sister, Ruth, died of typhoid fever in Ceylon after she had served there for a little over a year, on 11 January 1921.

Letters from our missionary, Miss Abbie G.
Chapin, of Tungchou, North China, and her
friend, Miss Phelps, were read. They wrote
of their Christmas celebrations and told what
was done with the bags and handkerchiefs
we sent them (about 100 of each).

Mrs Willis Knowlton then took charge
of the meeting. A Gospel hymn was sung
and the last chapter of the study book was
considered––The child at work for Christ.
One or two selections were read from
the book, following which Mrs. Shepard
expressed her feeling as to what the children
of Shrewsbury need to have done for them,
and the importance of having a parish
house.

Miss Marble, our kindergarten teacher, spoke
of ways in which we may be of service to the
French and Italian children and mothers
at the Lake. Miss Marble has made a
thorough canvas of that district and has
found there one hundred children of
kindergarten age. The mothers are eager
to learn how to do things in the American
way; and Miss Marble thinks that after
the kindergarten at the Lake is started
and the teacher has won the confidence
of these mothers, there will be an op-
portunity for us to teach them cooking,
sewing, care of children, and care of their
homes.

The music consisted of singing by the
Sunshine Club, accompanied by Miss Doris
Donaldson.

The attendance was eleven members,
four adults visitors, and eight children––
total 23. 

Postcard found in the Shrewsbury Congregational Church Archives.
Float created by members of St. Mary's and St. Anne's parishes,
also in Shrewsbury.


Decorations of flags were furnished by
the flower committee, and a begonia in
full bloom.

Since our last meeting, one of our
members, Miss Mary L. Norcross, has been
taken from us by death, after a long and
painful illness. Her name first appears
in our records in October, 1901, when she
was chosen secretary of the society.
From that time until her last illness,
so far as her health permitted, Mrs. Norcross
was always ready to do her part in the work
of the society.

Ida L. Bement Sec’y.
An early view of the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

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