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Mt. Olivet Women in Mission

 

FROM THE EARLIEST DAYS, Methodists in Western North Carolina have liberally supported missions with their purses and their prayers. In 1818, the first Board of Missions - or Missionary Society - was formed. Ministers of the Sugar Creek Circuit, which included Rogers’ Church (now Mt. Olivet), encouraged their flocks to become members of local Societies. During the re-organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1866, following the Civil War, the General Conference established a Board to administer the cause of “Foreign” missions as well as the more familiar “Home” missions program. In 1910, the Western North Carolina Conference appointed a part-time Conference Missionary Secretary; the salaried position was expanded to full-time in 1918.

      Methodist women have been at the heart of the mission movement from its beginning. They trace their formal organization to 23 March 1869, when eight Methodist Episcopal women met at Tremont Street Church in Boston to organize the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. In November 1869, two young women missionaries, Isabella Thoburn and Clara Swain, sailed for India under the sponsorship of the newly-formed Missionary Society. Inspired by the example of their Northern sisters, the women of the M. E. Church, South, petitioned the General Conference in 1874 to allow formation of women’s societies for the support of missions. In 1878, the Conference authorized women of the Southern Church to form Woman’s Missionary Societies, and Societies were quickly organized in both the Holston and North Carolina Conferences. In 1885, the M. E. Church, South, authorized Methodist women to form a companion Board of Home Missions.

      In 1890, Western North Carolina Methodists formed the Western North Carolina Conference, which held its first meeting at Central Methodist Church in Concord. The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Western North Carolina Conference was authorized at that historic first meeting and organized on 6 August 1890 in Salisbury. Mrs. Lucy H. Robertson, who served as temporary chair of the organizational meeting was then elected as President and served faithfully for 36 consecutive years! Mrs. Charles C. Weaver succeeded her as the Society’s President and served until she retired from active leadership in 1948. Mrs. Weaver was then elected as President Emeritus of the Society in honor of her long service.

      In 1901, a Woman’s Home Missionary Society was organized in Salisbury. The enthusiasm for Home Mission Societies quickly spread to neighboring Cabarrus County, and a strong Society was formed at Central Methodist in Concord. A missionary effort by dedicated members of the Central Methodist Society: Mrs. W. C. Houston and Mrs. W.C. Harris, led to the formation in September 1909 of a Woman’s Home Missionary Society at Mt. Olivet, organized with nine charter members. Mrs. J. A. Scott was elected President of the new Society and Miss Katie Barnhardt [later, Mrs. Luther Winecoff] agreed to serve as recording secretary. By 1910, there were 28 members: Mrs. W. N. Barnhardt, Katie Barnhardt, Mrs. Arthur Fink, Mrs. C. J. Goodman, Ola Johnson, Annie Misenheimer, Mrs. J. W. Penninger, Ollie Stroud, Gertrude Stroud, Mrs. J. A. Scott, Ida Winecoff, Mrs. G. R. Winecoff, Mrs. Ira Winecoff, Mrs. Joe Winecoff, Mrs. Ira Goodman, Mrs. W. S. Ritchie, Mrs. A. W. Winecoff, Mrs. R. W. Felker, Miss Lura Scott, Miss Mary Earnhardt, Mrs. G. A. Shinn, Mrs. J. H. Barnhardt, Mrs. W. N. Cline, Mrs. J. A. Stroud, Miss K. Lee Steele, Mrs. John Wade, Mrs. James Fink, and Mrs. Litaker.

      The 30 October 1909 Quarterly Conference Minutes confirm the traditional date for organization of a Woman’s Home Missionary Society at Mt. Olivet. The 1910 Minutes record the existence of both the new Woman’s Society and the continued existence of the much older Sunday School-based Missionary Society. In 1910, there was a re-organization of the mission-oriented organizations in the M. E. Church, South. As a result, the General Missions Boards and the Woman’s Boards were all gathered into one fold: the Board of Missions. Methodist women were authorized to continue their work through a Woman’s Missionary Council.

      That first Woman’s Society was building on a strong missionary emphasis at Mt. Olivet. Quarterly Conference Minutes for the Concord Circuit, which included Mt. Olivet Methodist until it became a station church in 1937, substantiate the existence of a Missionary Society at Mt. Olivet at least by 1887. In 1883, the Concord Circuit raised $42.00 for Foreign Missions and $22.67 for Domestic Missions. By 1887, there were two missionary societies on the Circuit (one at Mt. Olivet), which had raised “some money” for mission purposes. During the week of Self-denial in 1888, $23.00 was raised for missions. At the August 1889 Quarterly Conference, the Secretary noted that there was a Missionary Society “in connection with the Sunday-school at Mt. Olivet.” The circuit minister, M.V. Sherrill, encouraged all the churches on the Circuit to organize their Sunday Schools into Missionary Societies in accordance with the Discipline. In the following year, the minister again complimented the active Missionary Society in the Mt. Olivet Sunday School: it is, he wrote, a “good Missionary Society which is doing much in this community in spreading information and inspiring zeal.” Although there is a break in the Quarterly Conference Minutes, the Mt. Olivet Missionary Society was still in active operation during the 1890’s and into the first decade of the new century. Rolls for the Mt. Olivet Missionary Society survive in a small record book which lists Society members for years from 1889 to 1903.

Margie Goodman
Margie Barringer (Mrs. Fred) Goodman
Born April 3, 1899
Died May 26, 1943

      In May 1905, the Circuit minister again noted that he had been preaching “some” on the subject of missions and that there was a Missionary Society at Mt. Olivet. Delegates to a Missionary Conference included J. A. Scott, H. T. Tucker, and H. H. Winecoff. The 1906 Minutes confirm the continued preaching on Missions, the distribution of tracts, and the organization of the children. The churches of the Circuit raised $15.92 for the “California sufferers,” victims of the great San Francisco earthquake. Members of that early Missionary Society were assessed dues of a nickel at each meeting. The 1907 Minutes note that the Society had done “fine work,” and those superintending the “nickel workers” had also done well. In 1908, the Mt. Olivet Missionary Society was described as “live” and church leader L. W. Earnhardt was elected to guide the Laymen’s Missionary Movement.

THE METHODIST WOMEN OF THE CONCORD CIRCUIT were active in missions in 1911. The Circuit minister W.P. McGhee reported that a “live young man, Bro. H. A. Scott, is our [Circuit] lay leader, and he is assisted by a good strong Missionary Committee which we trust are doing good work.” Later that year, an effort was made to canvass the individual members for the cause of missions. The Mt. Olivet Woman’s Home Mission Society collected the sum of $119.60 for mission projects, a substantial amount in those days. Mrs. Scott was re-elected President in 1911, assisted by Mrs. W. N. Barnhardt as First Vice-President; Mrs. C. J. Goodman as Second Vice-President; and Mrs. G. A. Shinn, Third Vice-President. Other 1911 Officers included: Annie Misenheimer [later, Mrs. Pearson Shinn] as Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. J. A. Stroud, Recording Secretary; and Gertrude Stroud [Mrs. Varen Crowgey], Treasurer.

      1912 brought further consolidation of the women’s mission organizations. At a meeting held in Gastonia from June 6 through the 10th, the Woman’s Foreign Mission Society and the Home Mission Society united to form the Woman’s Missionary Society of the Western North Carolina Conference. During 1912, the Mt. Olivet Society, 19 dues-paying members strong, participated in special offerings for the Children’s Home ($57.88) and famine relief in China ($25.47). Later in the year, the Society raised the sum of $68.20, which included dues of $18.20, a Christmas offering of $10.00, and a $40.00 China Scholarship. In July 1913, Mt. Olivet’s Woman’s Mission Society reported 18 members who paid dues of $17.50 and who raised the funds for the annual $40.00 Olivet Fink Scholarship in China. Mrs. C. J. Goodman, active in the women’s work during her long and fruitful life, served as Treasurer of the group during that year.

      1914 brought the excitement of groundbreaking for a new sanctuary for the Mt. Olivet congregation. The Mt. Olivet Women’s Society, led by President Mrs. R. D. Goodman and Secretary Mrs. A. W. Winecoff, was now 25 members strong. According to

Betty Hough
Betty Barnhardt (Mrs. R.W.) Hough
Born January 9, 1910
Died January 5, 1971

 

      a “Short History of Woman’s Society,” written by Mrs. C. J. Goodman in 1965 at age 89, other officers in February 1914 were Mrs. J. A. Scott, First Vice-President; Mrs. T. F. Litaker, Second Vice-President; Evelyn Winecoff, Third Vice-President; and Katie Barnhardt, Recording Secretary. The Society raised almost $300.00 towards the new church building that year as well as participating in an offering of $69.00 for the District Missionary. The women also “sent two boxes clothes to Mtn. Mission at Crossnore, N.C. Valued at $20.00. Scholarship to Mountain Girl $5.00. Scholarship to Chinese Girl $40.00. Rec’d on dues since October 1913, $20.00.” Rev. Albright preached in all the churches on the theme of Jesus’ world-wide mission as found in Matthew 13:38.

In 1915, the Concord Circuit continued to support the District Missionary and to generally support the missions outreach. There were three subscribers to the Missionary Voice, and the Circuit paid the Foreign Mission assessment of $102.00 and the Home Mission assessment of $31.00. The Circuit also pledged $75.00 towards the District Missionary. Officers for 1915 included: President, Mrs. J.A. Scott; First Vice-President, Mrs. W. G. Graham (Mrs. E. L. Stamey); Second Vice-President, Mrs. T. F. Litaker; Corresponding Secretary, Blanche Scott (Mrs. Tom Hough); Corresponding Secretary, Katie Barnhardt; Treasurer, Mrs. W. N. Barnhardt; Secretary of Study, Mrs. H. A. Scott; Secretary of Social Relations, Mrs. J. A. Stroud; and Secretary of Supplies, Mrs. C. J. Goodman.

      The Mt. Olivet Mission Society, which is sometimes referred to as the Auxiliary in the Minutes, reported 21 members for the period from 1 October 1915 through 1 October 1916. The group raised $40.00 for the China scholarship, $50.00 for the Mt. Olivet building fund, and $24.50 for local mission work. In addition during 1916, the Circuit collected $9.90 for the Belgian Relief Fund and $10.55 for the Children’s Home. During the next year from 1 October 1916 through 1 October 1917, 24 members paid dues and raised a total of $159.50, of which $40.00 paid the Olivet Fink China scholarship, and $69.00 was spent on local work.

      Although there is another break in the available Quarterly Conference Minutes until 1935, it seems clear that the Women’s Mission emphasis continued at Mt. Olivet. We are indebted again to Mrs. C. J. Goodman’s brief history for our knowledge of those years. She writes:

We didn’t show much progress for a while but we existed, and finally took on more life. About the year 1917 [1912], the Society was consolidated with the Foreign Mission Society and was called Woman’s Missionary Society. Soon after that we took a scholarship in the Laura Haygood School in China during the 1st World War. This school was moved to Formosa. We also took another scholarship in the Davidson school in China. This one supported by two members and it was also moved elsewhere during the war. And as you know from time to time other Foreign specials were taken, and we now [1965] have 11 Foreign specials supported by different individuals.

I remember that on April 29, 1929, we met with Mrs. S. W. Cook, Sr. and she served refreshments; that was the beginning of that custom.

When the Quarterly Conference Minutes resume in 1935, the “Women’s Missionary Societies [were] continuing the good work they have been doing all of the year.” A bound book containing the minutes of Mt. Olivet Woman’s Missionary Society from 1935-1940 is preserved in the church archives. Miss Janet Stroud was Society President for 1935; the W.M.S. began the year with 41 members, including Rev. J. N. Randall and Mrs. Randall. Other members (and their offices) for 1935 included: Mrs. W.N. Barnhardt; Mrs. S. W. Cook, Superintendent of Local Work; Mrs. R.A. Caldwell; Mrs. U.S. Caldwell, Superintendent of The World Outlook; Mrs. J.G. Comer; Mrs. E.G. Denny; Mrs. J.W. Dayvault; Mrs. A.C. Dayvault, Spiritual Life Leader; Mrs. W.A. Fink; Mrs. Lonnie Fink; Mrs. Homer Fink, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. C.J. Goodman, Treasurer; Mrs. R.D. Goodman, Vice-President; Mrs. Fred Goodman; Mrs. Hugh Goodman; Mrs. G.I. Horton; Mrs. W.L. Harris, Superintendent of Children’s Work; Mrs. W.C. Litaker; Mrs. Tola Litaker; Mrs. Bob Measimer; Mrs. W.M. Patterson; Mrs. J. W. Penninger; Mrs. J.A. Scott; Mrs. H.A. Scott; Mrs. Joe Stewart, Superintendent of Literature and Publicity; Mrs. J.A. Stroud; Mrs. Brad Stroud, Superintendent of Baby Division; Mrs. G.A. Shinn; Mrs. B.L. Umberger; Mrs. O.T. Umberger; Mrs. N.P. Watt; Mrs. W.S. Wellborn, Superintendent of Study; Mrs. A.W. Winecoff, Recording Secretary; Mrs. C.W. Winecoff; Mrs. David Winecoff; Mrs. E.J. Winecoff; and Mrs. G.R. Winecoff.

      At the February 1935 monthly meeting, the W.M.S. minutes reflect the rural character of the Society membership at that time. “It was decided,” the minutes state, “that we take several eggs to each monthly meeting to be placed in water glass until the fair. Each member who can do so was also asked to set a hen and raise chickens for the fair.” At the May 1935 meeting, the group discussed the need for a more convenient time for women to meet who could not attend the Society meeting. The minutes for that meeting state that plans were underway “for organizing a sister society for the young women who are unable to attend the afternoon meetings. Mrs. R. A. Caldwell was appointed to make further arrangements for this.”

      Apparently the efforts were successful, as the 1936 minutes begin for the first time to refer to circles number 1 and 2. That is consistent with Mrs. Goodman’s recollection that the original circle included both older and younger women, but finally grew to the point it was divided. Miss Janet Stroud continued to serve as President during 1936, but the November 1936 minutes reflect that she had to resign the Presidency due to illness, and Mrs. H. A. Scott became President. The 1936 Quarterly Conference Minutes reflect that each of the two circles had its own monthly meeting; further: “The general program is followed as closely as deemed wise. The finances are about as well forward as could be expected. We have two scholarships: Olive Fink, paid by the circle, and the Henderson Winecoff, paid by Mrs. C. J. Goodman and Mrs. Ida Winecoff Stamey.” Always willing to do whatever would benefit the church, “the Society . . . decided to take charge of the sweeping of the church for [1936].” A Missionary Committee was appointed in 1935 for each of the churches on the Circuit. At Mt. Olivet, Cleopatra [Mrs. U.S.] Caldwell was Chairperson and E. R. Lackey was Director of the Missionary Committee.

      Mrs. W. S. Wellborn served as President of W.M.S. in latter 1936 and in 1937. Apparently, there was continued growth in enthusiasm and membership, as the W.M.S. began to discuss the formation of a third circle. The Quarterly Conference minutes for 19 September 1937 indicate that a new circle had been formed. Rev. Randall described the new Circle as composed of young women, who were “interested and eager.” It may be that organizational efforts were not immediately successful, however, as all available records continue to show only two circles (No. 1 and No. 2) through 1938. In the Pastor’s Report in the Quarterly Conference Minutes of 28 September 1939, Rev. Randall reported that “[t]he Woman’s Missionary Society is divided into three circles each of which is doing good work.” In November 1939, each of the three circles had a part on the program. The circles continued to be known only by their numbers at that time.

      The Society continued to work hard during that entire period in its traditional service areas: there were regular studies on missions, the Bible, and current social issues; meals prepared for the bereaved and shut-ins; continued fund-raising events for home and foreign mission projects and specials; inspiring and educational monthly programs for members; and upkeep and beautification of the sanctuary and parsonage. Rev. Randall reported that the “Women’s Missionary Societies are well organized and are doing splendid work. There is a fine missionary spirit and interest throughout the charge. The church schools at Mt. Olivet and Rocky Ridge observe missionary Sunday and the offering is sent for the Home and Foreign Missionary Enterprise.” Mrs. A. C. Dayvault served as President of the Society during 1938, 1939, and 1940 – troubled years when the worst of the Great Depression was over, but the entire world appeared to be marching towards war.

      In October 1939, the dream of Methodist union finally came true and a Uniting Conference was held in Greensboro. Following unification, the various Women’s Societies and groups merged into the Woman’s Society of Christian Service effective 1 January 1941.

 

Ada Dayvault
Ada Jane Linn (Mrs. A.C.) Dayvault
Born October 9, 1894
Died December 27, 1992

 

      Mt. Olivet women worked through the W.S.C.S. until January 1973, when the W.S.C.S. merged with the Wesleyan Service Guild to form the United Methodist Women.

THE WOMAN’S SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE – 1941 TO 1972

In 1941, the new Woman’s Society began work with 39 charter members on its rolls, according to an article in the 22 September 1965 Messenger. They were: Mrs. Worth Beaver; Mrs. Ralph Bost; Mrs. Jack Butler; Mrs. Marvin Cook; Mrs. S. W. Cook, Sr.; Mrs. R. A. Caldwell; Mrs. U. S. Caldwell; Mrs. A. C. Dayvault; Mrs. Lee Earnhardt; Mrs. Earl Fink; Mrs. H. L. Fink; Miss Roxie Fink; Mrs. C. J. Goodman; Mrs. R. D. Goodman; Mrs. Lewis Hopkins; Mrs. G. I. Horton; Mrs. J. B. Hough; Mrs. C. M. King; Mrs. A. D. Kornegay; Miss Emma Litaker; Mrs. Tola Litaker, Sr.; Mrs. Robert Measmer; Mrs. Roy Milner; Mrs. Mary Morgan; Mrs. G. C. Munday; Mrs. C. W. Murph; Mrs. J. W. Penninger; Mrs. Lacy Poole; Mrs. Rickard Rodgers; Mrs. H. A. Scott; Mrs. G. A. Shinn; Mrs. Lee Shinn; Mrs. Brad Stroud; Miss Janet Stroud; Mrs. Adelaide Teague; Mrs. B. F. Waddell; Mrs. N. P. Watt; Mrs. W. S. Wellborn; and Katie Winecoff. Miss Janet Stroud had the honor of serving as the first President of the W. S. C. S. in 1941, and continued to lead the new group in 1942.

      Despite the shortages of the war years, the new W.S.C.S. prospered at Mt. Olivet. According to a Quarterly Conference report of 11 October 1942, the Society had 71 members and total offerings of $532.30. In 1943, with 94 members and Miss Janet Stroud in her third term as President, the Society sent $188.70 to the Conference Treasurer for Missions, and raised $40.00 to fund its Olivet Fink Scholarship. Mrs. Robert Measmer led the group in 1944. Fortunately, a list of other W. S. C. S. officers for that year survives. They include:

Vice-Presidents Mrs. A. C. Dayvault
Mrs. W. L. Harris
Treasurer Mrs. C. J. Goodman
Corresponding Secretary Miss Ruth Winecoff
Recording Secretary Mrs. R. D. Goodman
Missionary Education Mrs. Ralph Caldwell
Mrs. C. M. King
Christian Social Relations Mrs. C. W. Murph
Mrs. Lacy Poole
Spiritual Life Leaders Mrs. H. A. Scott
Mrs. Rickard Rodgers
Secretary of Supplies Mrs. T. J. Litaker
Mrs. S. W. Cook, Jr.
Secretary Children’s Work Mrs. J. B. Hough
Secretary Girl’s Group Miss Pearle Fink
Secretary of Literature Mrs. Homer L. Fink
Student Work Miss Kathleen Stewart
Secretary of Publicity Mrs. A. W. Winecoff
Mrs. L. D. Fink
Leader Circle No. 1 Miss Janet Stroud
Leader Circle No. 2 Miss Mary Murph

Mrs. A. C. Dayvault followed as President in 1945, Mrs. Robert Measmer again in 1946, and Mrs. A. C. Dayvault in 1947. During 1946 or 1947, Circle No. 2 had grown so large that it divided into two circles. A surviving Easter Sunday Bulletin for 1947 gives the meeting times and places for circles 2 and 3. Later in 1947, the Society membership decided to honor leading women in the church by naming the circles after them. A list of officers for 1948 indicates that Circle 1 became the Margie Goodman Circle, Circle 2 the Betty Hough Circle, and Circle 3 was named the Ethel Kiker Circle in honor of the wife of a beloved minister who served Mt. Olivet from 1939 to 1943. Mrs. C. W. Murph was the leader of the Margie Goodman Circle, Mrs. L. W. Thomason was President of the Ethel Kiker Circle, and Mrs. W. D. Lee, Sr., guided the Betty Hough Circle. W.S.C.S. officers for 1948 included:

 

President Mrs. Earl Fink
Vice-President Mrs. C. M. King
Treasurer Mrs. C. J. Goodman
Corresponding Secretary Mrs. Marvin Cook
Recording Secretary Mrs. Robert Jernigan
Missionary Education Mrs. Lacy Poole
Spiritual Life Mrs. Ralph Bost
Christian Social Relations Mrs. H. A. Scott
Status of Women Mrs. Earl Earnhardt
Secretary of Supplies Mrs. H. L. Fink
Children’s Work Mrs. J. B. Hough
Girls’ Work Mrs. Robert Measmer
Student Work Miss Kathleen Stewart
Literature Mrs. A. C. Dayvault
Publicity Mrs. W. B. Davis

An early record of charter members of the Ada Dayvault Circle, the fourth adult circle to be organized, indicates a formation date of “1947 or ’48.” It is likely that the new circle was organized in 1948 since no officers for Ada Dayvault Circle are shown on the listing set out above. Further, the new recreational building (scout hut) at Mt. Olivet was completed in 1947 and dedicated to the World War II veterans from Mt. Olivet. The Ethel Kiker Circle furnished the linoleum for the floor, and the Ethel Kiker, Margie Goodman and Betty Hough Circles bought dishes for the kitchen. Therefore, it seems almost certain that the new fourth circle, named in honor of Mrs. A. C. Dayvault, was organized in 1948.

      In 1949, the Society’s organizational year was modified from a calendar year to a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30. Mrs. Earl Fink continued as President until June 30, 1949, and then succeeded herself for the 1949-1950 year. On 25 July 1949, Rev. Kennerly commented in his annual report on the “good work” being done by the W.S.C.S.

      Mrs. A. C. Dayvault again served as President in 1950-1951, indicating in her yearly report that the 83-member Society was supporting “eight mission specials in foreign lands.” Mrs. C. M. King led the group from July 1, 1951, through June 30, 1954. On 29 August 1953, the Mt. Olivet W.S.C.S. was 86 members strong and raised a then-record $811 for the Conference Treasurer and $948 for local projects. During the 1953-1954 year, Miss Martha Monteith served as Vice-President, Mrs. Ralph Teague as Secretary, and Mrs. Victor J. Goodman, Promotional Secretary. Mrs. C. J. Goodman and Mrs. Lacy Poole were co-treasurers. Mrs. W. D. Lee, Jr. led the Ada Dayvault Circle and Mrs. Roy D. Goodman the Margie Goodman Circle. The Ethel Kiker and Betty Hough Circles had merged by that time, and Mrs. W. L. Harris presided over the combined circles. During 1953, the Ada Dayvault Circle sponsored the Brownie Troop.

      When Mrs. Lacy Poole became President of W.S.C.S. in the 1954-1955 year, the Society and some individual members supported nine mission specials in addition to its local work:

 

Scholarship Location Supporter
Faye Harrington Scholarship Korea W.S.C.S.
Caleb Goodman Scholarship Japan Mrs. C.J. Goodman
Olivet Fink Scholarship China W.S.C.S.
Lillie Scott Scholarship China Mrs. W.L. Wellborn
Mrs. T. J. Hough
A Native Worker Africa W.S.C.S.
The Stewart Scholarship Japan Kathleen Stewart
Ada Dayault Scholarship Africa Ada Dayvault Circle
Minnie Stroud Special India Janet Stroud
Henderson Winecoff Scholarship China. Mrs. C. J. Goodman
Mrs. E. L. Stamey

 

Lura Wellborn
Lura Scott (Mrs. W.S.) Wellborn
Born March 15, 1889
Died July 19, 1983

 

      Later, three more scholarships were added: H. A. Scott Scholarship in Kentucky, supported by Mrs. H. A. Scott; Mertie Winecoff Scholarship supported by the Mertie Winecoff Circle; and the Wellborn Scholarship, supported by Mrs. W. S. Wellborn. Eventually, Conference procedures changed to require that funds be undesignated and individual scholarships stopped. At that time, it is said that Mt. Olivet women supported more individual scholarships than any other church in the district.

      During 1955, Society membership exceeded 100 members for the first time. Mrs. Robert Measmer served as President during 1954-1957, followed by Miss Roxie Fink from 1957-1960. Mrs. Ree V. Litaker presided during 1960-1962. The Society continued its interest in fund-raising and upkeep of the parsonage and sanctuary during this time. At the 11 June 1956 meeting of the Official Board, Mrs. Robert Measmer requested that the entire church membership support the work on the Parsonage which the Woman’s Society had begun. In response, the Board appointed a Committee to investigate the needs. Later that same year (10 September), Mrs. Doris Miller asked on behalf of the Ada Dayvault Circle that the Board grant the Circle permission to sell barbecue plates on Sunday and the sale was approved.

      In latter 1956, a Wesleyan Service Guild was organized with a Junior Circle for girls. The young girls’ circle, known as the “Willing Workers,” was organized with 12 members, and met monthly for missionary programs. Mrs. James [Grace] Riggs served as President of the Guild until 1959. The W.S.C.S. also organized a new morning circle in 1956 to allow those who worked on the second shift to participate in circle activities. The “morning circle” was known as the Lura Wellborn Circle. A surviving list of Circle Chairs for 1957-58 shows Mrs. Lewis Hopkins as chair of the new Lura Wellborn Circle; Mrs. B. F. Waddell as leader of the Margie Goodman Circle; Mrs. Paul Linker chair of the combined Ethel Kiker-Betty Hough Circle; and Mrs. Ross Hopkins, chair of the Ada Dayvault Circle.

 

W.S.C.S. officers for 1957-58 were:

< Stroud Janet Miss>
President Miss Roxie Fink
Vice-President Mrs. W. S. Wellborn
Treasurer Mrs. C. J. Goodman
Promotion Secretary Mrs. Ree V. Litaker
Missionary Education
Local Church Activities Mrs. Ruth Stroud
Social Relations Mrs. Rupert Stevens
Secretary Student Work Mrs. Max N. Lackey
Secretary Youth Work Mrs. John Newell
Secretary Children’s Work Mrs. Robert Jernigan
Spiritual Life Secretary Mrs. C. W. Murph
Literature & Publication Mrs. Verlie Sherrill
Status of Women Mrs. Louis W. Jenkins
Supply Work Mrs. Marvin Cook
Membership Mrs. J. Ray Allen

Mertie Winecoff
Mertie Winecoff (Mrs. Arthur W.) Winecoff
Born March 20, 1889
Died July 18, 1956

 

      About that time, the Society took an offering which was used to buy a Guest Register for the vestibule of the newly renovated sanctuary. In 1958, a fifth circle, named for Mertie Winecoff, was formed. In the summer of 1959, the Wesleyan Service Guild was organized into the K. Lee Scott Circle, increasing the number of circles to six and the total membership of the Society to 124 members by 1 October 1959.

      In 1963, Mt. Olivet began to raise money for stained-glass windows in the sanctuary. This was the culmination of the Society’s efforts which began in 1958. The 13 January 1958 Official Board minutes indicate that the “Mertie Winecoff Circle suggested her donation be used to put stained glass windows in the church. They have enough to buy one window and another one has been promised if the Board approves.” The Board felt it needed additional information, however, and left the matter for the February 1958 meeting. Following further discussion at the February meeting, the matter was left open to “check on the cost per window.” Not until 1962, however, did the project begin in earnest. On 9 July 1962, the Board voted to give the W.S.C.S. “the project of replacing windows in the sanctuary and whether to have plaques for those donating.” The Society led the effort in 1962 and 1963, and the Ada Dayvault Circle sold plates depicting Mt. Olivet Church to raise money for the beautiful window showing Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane that was installed behind the pulpit in the choir loft. In his report to the last Quarterly Conference in 1963, Rev. Joseph M. Taylor, Jr., stated that “[he] greatly appreciate[d] the . . . leadership of the ladies of the church in securing stain glass windows for the sanctuary.”

      According to the minutes of the Official Board on 21 April 1958, the ladies of the church “suggested cushioning one pew in the sanctuary for the elderly members” and estimated the costs of the cushion at $3.00 per running foot. Although the idea was not acted upon at that time, it eventually led to all the church pews being cushioned.

      In July 1966, Society members were invited to participate in crafting decorations for a Chrismon tree. Mrs. J. B. Butler initiated the project, Mrs. Mildred Ford directed it, and Mrs. Betty Jo Sethna supervised their creation. Members were asked to save strands of old pearls for the project, and to bring husbands to the September meeting to learn how to cut symbols out of Styrofoam. At the September meeting, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Hearne of Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church displayed some of the Chrismons used on their church tree, explained their creation and encouraged the Society to undertake this “labor of love.”

Minutes of the Mt. Olivet Official Board on 10 October 1966 reflect that:

      Mrs. Robert Davis asked permission for the WSCS to sponsor a Chrismon tree. The tree would be on the south side of the pulpit and would be used about two or three weeks at Christmas time. The tree would be decorated with symbols of the Church and made by the WSCS. Mr. Homer Fink made a motion that the WSCS be able to carry out this project, the motion was approved.

      The Society continued its long history of decorating the church buildings for the Christmas season in 1976. The Ada Dayvault Circle bought a new tree for Memorial Hall, the Zenobia Murph and Mertie Winecoff Circles bought electric candles for each window in the Hall, and Mrs. W. L. Harris volunteered to make wreaths for the doors. Society members repaired the fragile Chrismons in October 1979 so that they could be displayed that year. In 1981, Society members made cross-stitched Christian symbols and framed them for the new artificial Christmas tree for Memorial Hall. In 1995, new Chrismons were created for use in the sanctuary.

      According to the treasurer’s report for the period from May 1967 through May 1968, there were six circles which had raised a total of $1,457.76 for worthy causes:

Ada Dayvault $256.70
Margie Goodman 389.55
Betty Hough 259.10
Lura Wellborn 317.15
Mertie Winecoff 141.30
K. Lee Scott 93.96

      By that time, the combined Hough-Kiker circles had dropped the Ethel Kiker name and the circle was simply known thereafter as “Betty Hough.” In 1968, following the merger of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church into the United Methodist Church, the name of the Society was changed to the “Women’s” Society of Christian Service. A new seventh circle, the Zenobia Murph Circle, was formed the following year. The Society continued to be a strong force within the church, sponsoring regular mission studies, raising funds to support twelve scholarships and specials abroad, supporting local missions, providing meals for bereaved families, and raising funds to improve both the sanctuary and the parsonage. The Society sponsored an Open House at the Parsonage on 6 December 1970, surprising the parsonage family with an old-fashioned pounding, much to the delight of Rev. I. Pressley Rutledge and his family.

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN, 1973-PRESENT

      1972 brought a significant change to the old Society. Effective 1 January 1973, the W.S.C.S. merged with the Wesleyan Service Guild and formed a new group, the United Methodist Women. The women of Mt. Olivet celebrated the merger – and their new name – at the 9 January 1973 quarterly meeting of all seven circles. Beverly Readling had the honor of serving as the first President of the newly-formed UMW. Later in the year, she and Mildred Ford attended the First Annual UMW meeting at Lake Junaluska. Mrs. Readling continued as President in 1974. During those first years as the UMW, the women led the effort to renovate the sanctuary through painting and re-carpeting. In addition, Sunday School rooms and the halls in the old building were paneled, painted and carpeted. The parsonage was also painted.

In 1974, the seven circles and their chairs were:

Ada Dayvault Hope Lackey
Betty Hough Sarah Hough
K. Lee Scott Kathleen Harris
Lura Wellborn Pearl Hopkins
Margie Goodman Earline King
Zenobia Murph Ann Blackwelder
Mertie Winecoff Ruth Wilkinson

      President Beverly Readling reported to the Council on Ministries in February 1974 that UMW was continuing its ministry to retired persons within the community by scheduling an organizational meeting for a retired persons’ group on Saturday, February 9. President Readling reported to the March COM meeting that the initial meeting was a great success, with 24 members in attendance. A second meeting was planned for March 30, 1974, with the K. Lee Scott Circle serving lunch to the group. From those beginnings came the XYZ Club, now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

      The UMW also continued the long tradition of annual mission studies to which the entire church membership was invited, as well as other studies for the UMW membership during the year. In April 1975, Beverly Readling announced plans for an UMW Mission Study on the book of Jonah on April 14, 1975, with Dottie Gibbs as study leader. The entire church was invited to the memorable study. In April 1976, Mrs. Lois Earnhardt led another inspiring Mission Study, “Decisions for Destiny.”

Lee Scott
K. Lee Steele (Mrs. H.A.) Scott
Born August 6, 1889
Died June 8. 1978

      The annual UMW Bazaar also had its genesis during the successful Presidency of Beverly Readling. On 3 August 1975, she reported to the COM that the UMW were planning an attic sale on Saturday, November 15, to raise funds for the church building fund. That first bazaar, with crafts and food, was very successful, raising over $900.00 for the building fund. Mrs. Readling also reported that the Preacher’s Clinic in October 1975 raised $169.40 for the building fund. At the Call to Prayer and Self-Denial Service in January 1976, the UMW continued to discuss additional fund-raising projects to benefit the building fund. As a result of those discussions, the UMW decided to participate in a community fair in May 1976 to raise funds and to consider sponsoring another Fall Bazaar.

      This second Bazaar was held on November 13, 1976, from 9:30 A.M. through 3:00 P.M, and included a bazaar, bake sale, crafts, plants, and a luncheon planned by Virginia Caldwell and served from 11 A.M. through 2 P.M. The elaborate menu included: turkey, dressing, rice, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, hot rolls, tea, and coffee. Dessert was available at the bake sale being directed by Jane Wood. Again, the Bazaar was a great success, and in 1977 the Society voted to hold an annual Bazaar on the second Saturday of November each year, with the proceeds to go to the Building Fund. Funds were authorized to buy plywood and construct permanent signs to advertise the Bazaar.

      Mt. Olivet UMW continued to be active in district and conference affairs and regular in attendance at official functions. In May 1975, eight UMW members attended the District UMW meeting at Central UMC in Concord, at which a substantial offering was taken for world hunger. An enthusiastic group from Mt. Olivet also attended the District UMW meeting at Midway UMC that following year. Ten UMW members from Mt. Olivet attended an enjoyable Spiritual Enrichment Retreat at Lake Junaluska during October 1976 and were housed in the Gibbs home.

      New UMW President Nancy Wike and other officers were installed during the worship service on January 9, 1976. At the joint meeting in Memorial Hall scheduled for the following day, those interested in learning about the “new stove” were invited to come for a demonstration. Plans were made for an extremely busy UMW year: members agreed to assist Marsha Weaver prepare a calendar of “greeters” to be responsible for welcoming visitors and others before the worship service. A combination attic and bake sale was planned for May 21, 1976, with the proceeds to be used for missions. The third annual Fall Bazaar was planned for November 12 from 9 A.M. through 3 P.M., with a turkey luncheon served from 11:30 A.M. through 2:30 P.M. Proceeds from the Bazaar were earmarked for the building fund.

Zenobia Murph
Zenobia Cole Cook (Mrs. C.W.) Murph
Born August 6, 1893
Died June 15, 1975

      Much of the planning for 1977 went into UMW participation in the ministerial exchange which saw Rev. Lewis Gibbs and Dottie travel to Kenya and Rev. Misheck Kanake, his wife Jennifer and young son Jonathan, fill the Mt. Olivet pulpit during July 1977. A district-wide UMW reception was scheduled for Concord’s Central UMC on July 24. Members invited the Kanake family into their homes for meals and scheduled meetings and activities during their all-too-brief tenure at Mt. Olivet. A bond was formed with Rev. Kanake and his family that has continued to the present day, resulting in continuing financial and prayer support for his ministry in Kenya, and the formation of a building team which has regularly traveled to Kenya.

      In January 1978, Mt. Olivet UMW hosted the district officer training event in Memorial Hall. New President Marsha Weaver announced that a covered dish supper for prospective members was planned for April 9, and all church members were invited to a mission study entitled “Women of the Bible” on April 23. The UMW held a hot dog sale on May 6, 1978, with the proceeds to go towards missions needs.

      By 1980, the UMW was at the height of its membership and attendance. A new eighth circle, the Helen Fink Circle, composed of younger women from the church, was formed in 1980 but dissolved in 1985. It was re-activated in 1992 and continues its service today. Delinda Rodgers, who served as UMW President in 1982, obtained permission from the Council on Ministries to have a team of women greeters at the front of the church each Sunday morning to welcome worshippers. The policy of Spring events as fund-raisers for mission projects continued; in 1983, the UMW Spring Festival was scheduled for May 21, with all proceeds designated for Rev. Misheck Kanake.

      The tradition of an annual church-wide UMW-sponsored mission study in February continued in 1982 when Rev. Jarrrett, his wife Barbara, and Clarence Horton, taught a four-session study on the Book of Isaiah. According to the 1976 Minutes, a mission study entitled “Christian Presence – A Study of Southeast Asia” was held the four Sunday nights of February. One of the speakers at that first study was Miss Elizabeth McMurray, a former missionary and beloved public school teacher. The tradition of a February study continues, although it is now held on only two Sunday nights during the month.

      Age and illness began to take their toll on circle membership. The demands of family, children and employment prevented many younger women from becoming active Circle members. The Margie Goodman circle, the remnant of the original Circle No. 1, dissolved at the end of 1986 or beginning of 1987. The Lura Wellborn Circle disbanded in the Spring of 1993, followed by the Betty Hough Circle in January of 2002 and the Mertie Winecoff Circle in December 2003. The remaining circles are still active and are the heart of mission work in the church. The highly successful Annual Bazaar in November each

Helen Fink
Helen Hawkins (Mrs. Homer) Fink
Born September 19, 1904
Died May 18, 1992

year provides funds which allow the UMW to support worthy causes both within and without the walls of Mt. Olivet. As from their distant beginnings in 1869, the women of Mt. Olivet UMW are dedicated to the worldwide spread of the Gospel story, to improvement of the lives of those less fortunate through better food and medical care, to the improvement of the physical facilities of the church, and to educational programs and efforts. They are found at the center of all good and charitable causes as they have faithfully attempted to carry out the mandates to do these things for the least of these and to spread the words of Christ “into all the world.”

Clarence and Marlene Horton
July 2004

Janet Stroud
Miss E. Janet Stroud
First President of Mt. Olivet W.S.C.S. (1941-1943)
Born August 7, 1896
Died October 21, 1980

Mt. Olivet UMW Membership
July 2004

The Ada Dayvault Circle

Henrietta Allen
Debbie Bowen
Jo Carpenter
Brenda Carter
Donna Childers
Donna Earnhardt
Betty Evans
Mildred Ford
Donna Gerdes
Carolyn Goodman
Lillian Goodman, President
Joy Hipp
Nell Hopkins
Marlene Horton
Harriet Hunter
Renee Karmanocky
Hope Lackey
Delphina Penninger
Virginia Poston
Etta Pruitt
Virginia Rodgers
Betty Sethna
Edith Swaringen
Rachel Tucker Robbins
Hazel Poole

The Helen Fink Circle

Diana Brant
Trina Coker
Linda Dutcher
Karen Harris
Glenda Keziah
Kelly Lackey, President
Christi Pickens
Kristin Rodgers
Susan Rodgers
Meredith Spry
Lisa Watson
Jeanne Zentmeyer

The K-Lee Scott Circle

Sadie Chewning
Betty Christie
Faye Cook
Carolyn Fink
Diane Helms, Co-Chair
Pansy Jones
Crystal Julian
Jane Marlow, Co-Chair
Nancy Marlow
Etta Myers
Mary Pletcher
Grace Riggs
Bobbie Smith
Rachel Untz
Nancy Wike
Barbara Yow

The Zenobia Murph Circle

Jennifer Foster
Willie Foster
Padgett Goodman
Diana Guza
Cheri Hopkins
Teresa Hopkins
Jann Johnson, President
Sandra McBride
Delinda Rodgers
Suzanne Shearon
Jenny Sparks
Fran Triece