Mennonite Women's Missionary Society (Mennonite Church)

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Mennonite Women's Missionary Society, the first women's organization in the Mennonite Church (MC), was organized in 1918 as the result of the initiative of Clara Eby Steiner of Columbus Grove, Ohio, the widow of M. S. Steiner, an early General Mission Board president. She served as the general secretary from the beginning until her retirement because of ill health in 1926. Because of misunderstandings between the organization and the officers of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, the organization was in effect forced to dissolve in 1927, when the Board appointed a General Sewing Circle Committee to coordinate the work of the local sewing circles in their sewing for missions and relief. The Mennonite Women's Missionary Society did a good work in coordinating the work of the local sewing circles and stimulating missionary interest and giving on the part of the local sewing circles of the Mennonite Church. It operated through local and state branches, of which there were 20 in 1920. Since in certain sections the sewing circles worked under conference or district mission board organizations, and since there was little coordination across state and conference lines the pioneer work of the Mennonite Women's Missionary Society was not easy. The treasurer throughout its history was Ruth A. Yoder of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Presidents changed a number of times, the first being Mary Burkhard of Goshen, Indiana. The organ of the Society was the Monthly Letter.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Mennonite Women's Missionary Society (Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 28 Jul 2021.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1957). Mennonite Women's Missionary Society (Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 July 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 640. All rights reserved.

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