Title: Administrative Records of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario
Series: 524/1 Records of the Conference United Church Women
Dates: 1963 – 2002, predominant 1963 – 1969
Extent: 20 cm textual records
Finding Aid: The Finding Aid (see pdf version for full details) includes File Description and Box Lists.
Beginning in 1953, a General Council Committee began to study the relationship of the various United Church women’s organisations to one another and to the church as a whole. It was the recommendation of the Committee that the General Council of the United Church approve the formation of one organisation for all women of the Church at all levels. By 1960, a constitution for the new women’s organisation had been prepared and it was approved at the 19th General Council. The new group would be known as The United Church Women (UCW). Manitoba Conference UCW came into being on March 7, 1962. The Conference UCW took over many of the responsibilities of older women’s organisations such as the Woman’s Association and the Woman’s Missionary Society that were disbanded when the UCW came into being. Representatives of Conference UCW were mandated to serve on the Conference Committees of Literature Depot, Christian Education, Missionary and Maintenance, Evangelism and Social Service, Home Missions, and World Service. Soon UCW representatives would also be serving on the Conference Executive and the Colleges and Students and Communications Committees.
Support for the Christian Education initiatives of the United Church was considered to be a special responsibility of UCW. However, as is shown by the number of Conference UCW Committees and Portfolios, they were also involved in many other projects. Members of Conference UCW co-ordinated the opening reception of the new Conference offices at 120 Maryland in 1965. Conference UCW undertook to raise funds for a two-way radio network for Indian missions, which at that time had no telephone service. Responsibility for the Woman’s Association Bursary Fund, which provided financial assistance to those training for work in the Church, was assumed by Conference UCW. The UCW Supply Committee was active in collecting and shipping needed material goods to isolated First Nations Communities. These projects were made possible through the financial and material support of hundreds of congregational UCW groups.
It was also decided in 1962 to create a joint Committee of United Church Men and United Church Women, called the Co-ordinating Committee for Lay Activities, which would assume the responsibilities previously delegated to the Lay Association of Conference as outlined in the United Church Manual. In 1966, following the lead of the United Church General Council, the Conference began to move towards the amalgamation of Evangelism and Social Service, Christian Education, United Church Men and United Church Women under the one administrative structure of Congregational Life and Work. In 1967, Congregational Life and Work took over the administrative responsibilities of the Conference Co-ordinating Committee for Lay Activities. In 1969 the UCW and UCM ceased to exist as separate groups at the Conference level. The main unit of organisation became the Presbytery with Presbyterial UCW relating to the Congregational Life and Work Committee and Manitoba Conference United Church Women entered a period of hiatus. Responsibilities such as the Bursary Fund and the Two-Way Radio Program came under the supervision of Congregational Life and Work (which ceased to exist in 1973) and its successor, the Administrative Support Committee. Supply work continued to be co-ordinated at the Conference level and the committee reported directly to Conference until 1993.
Unlike the members of other Conference Committees, Commissions and Task Forces the Executive officers of Conference and Presbyterial/Presbytery UCW were elected to their positions. The President was elected for a two-year term. Officers of Conference UCW consisted of the President, the First Vice-President and five other Vice-Presidents, the Recording and Corresponding Secretaries and the Treasurer. The Executive Committee of Conference UCW would consist of these officers plus the Chairs of Standing Committees (Bursary, Christian Citizenship and Social Action, Co-operation in Christian Education & Missionary Education, Finance, Leadership Development, Nominations and Policy and Resolutions), Portfolio Secretaries (Archives, Community Friendship and Visiting, Literature and Communications, Organisation and Promotion, Press and Publicity, Programme, Stewardship and Recruiting, Supply and Social Assistance), the Immediate Past-President of Conference UCW and Presidents of each Presbyterial UCW within Conference. This structure remained essentially unchanged until 1969.
Over time the women of Conference UCW groups felt the absence of a Conference level organisation through which they could relate to each other and to the national church. In 1982, a UCW Co-ordinating Team was formed with one of its mandates being to act as a liaison between the National Church and United Church Women at the Presbytery level. The Co-ordinating Team began its work of re-creating a Conference level organisation by making contact with the Presbyteries and encouraging them to make reports to Conference. Eventually, one representative from each Presbytery would serve on the Co-ordinating Committee. With Conference re-organisation in 1983, the UCW Co-ordinating Committee came under the umbrella of the newly created Worship and Education Council. A second Conference re-organisation in 1993 relocated the UCW Co-ordinating Committee under the Stewardship and Mission Unit. For the first time since the demise of Conference UCW in 1969, the position of Conference UCW President was filled in 1993. In 1996, a President and Executive was elected by a Steering Committee of Presbyterial UCW Presidents.
Presidents of Manitoba Conference United Church Women include Mrs. W. B. (Aileen) Doerksen, 1963-1964; Mrs. John (Eleanor) Paxton, 1965-1966; Mrs. H. E. (Helen) Roy, 1967-1968; Mrs. Norman C. H. (Margaret J.) Russell, 1969; Helen Sampsn, 1993-1995; Evelyn Stoddart, 1996-1997; Jean Janick, 1998- 2000; Bobbie McPherson 2000 – 2003; and Lorna Barclay 2003 – 2005.
Relevant items in this series related to Indian Residential Schools are included in The United Church of Canada Archives Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Conference and All Native Circle Conference 2014 Index of IRS Related Records and were digitized for submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For more information contact the Keeper of the Archives.