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  • Writer's pictureDiocese of WNC

ECW Prepares to Celebrate 150 Years of Service

Episcopal women in Western North Carolina have compelled the mission of service to our community since 1872, and this year the Episcopal Church Women will hold a special event to commemorate its 150th anniversary after 151 years of service.

The event will be a time for reflection, gratitude, and fellowship as members of the Episcopal Church Women of Western North Carolina gather to celebrate the good that has been done and honor women who have worked with the group and in other mission capacities through the years.

"We hope women will come from around the diocese to share their history and what they've done, even it if seems small," said Mary Ann Ransom, president of ECW of WNC for the past 20 years. "We've done a lousy job of tooting our own horns because that wasn't important to us, but we have done an excellent job of contributing to the welfare of the church, women, children, and the community. We now want to recognize the work that has been done and appreciate those who have done it."

The sesquicentennial celebration will be held 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, June 3 at Lake Lure Inn and Spa. Registration is just $25.

The ECW provides volunteers and funds to various ministries of the diocese, supporting the Church in its mission of spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ, often from the background.

"We are here today because we are standing on the shoulders of the women who came before us. I don't want us to forget the service those women did and the sacrifices they made," Ransom said.

The mission of the Episcopal Church Women began in 1872 as the Women's Auxiliary group was formed at Trinity, Asheville, ten years before the Diocesan Women's Auxiliary formed and 50 years before the Diocese of Western North Carolina was instituted. The auxiliary groups later became the Episcopal Church Women. The ECW of WNC chose not to hold a celebration event last year in order to honor the centennial celebration of the diocese.

Since its inception, the Episcopal Church Women of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina has played a critical role in supporting the mission and work of the diocese. Through fundraising and advocacy efforts, the group has undergirded efforts throughout each corner of church life and ministry, including outreach programs for the homeless, food banks, seminarian scholarships, help with cancer payments, incarcerated women, helping to pay clergy and parish staff salaries during tough times, building churches, and so much more.

Those who have worked with the group for decades also note the sense of friendship that comes with being part of the effort.

"These ladies have kept me around. The camaraderie of being together and knowing that we're united in helping other organizations around the diocese is just a real pleasure," said Diane Mance, treasurer of the ECW of WNC for 20 years and a member for more than 30 years. "When you look at churches who have started food kitchens, daycare, those kinds of things, it's the women who have done it. So often we're not given credit."

Margaret King, a member of the ECW of WNC for more than 30 years, former president of the group and the current secretary, shared a similar sentiment.

"I just enjoy it. When I was elected president I remember a woman shouted in the hallway, 'I love to meet with the women of the Episcopal Church!' and that has always stuck in my mind, because I sure do," King said.

The celebration event will include a program that highlights the history and accomplishments of the Episcopal Church Women, as well as a welcome to any woman who wishes to share her story of service. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a raffle. A boat tour and spa services are available by appointment.

On Friday, June 2, dinner and a cocktail hour will be held at 5:30 p.m. A 10% room discount is available for those who would like to stay at the Lake Lure Inn on Friday evening; room reservations must be made by May 6.

As the Episcopal Church Women celebrate their 150th anniversary, they look back on a legacy of service and devotion to their community. This celebration event is a testament to their unwavering commitment to spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ through their work and a reminder of the importance of supporting those in need.

"I'm hoping this celebration will help others to know what these women have done so we can be proud of the ministry that has been done here," Ransom said.

Contact Mary Ann Ransom with any questions at 828-230-0557 or email nanaransom43@gmail.com.

Registration information can be found at the link below or by visiting the ECW's newly revised website, ecwwnc.org.


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