During the past few weeks while the sun has been shining, I have sat in Parish House basement opening old boxes and folders. Along with reading minutes and bank statements, I have been marveling at black and white photos of beautiful parish events and detailed menu plans. I have been struck by how much Saint James’ financial, social and missional health has depended throughout its history on the time, talents and treasures of so many faithful women.
Although our 275th exhibition at Lancaster History recognizes some of our most famous and extraordinary female parishioners, I felt that we needed another panel which honored those hundreds, if not thousands, who have worked (paid and unpaid), prayed and fundraised to further the kingdom of God. Until the mid-20th century, women were excluded from church government and ordained ministry. This new panel records both the ministry of the Altar Guild, the Women’s Auxiliary and the Daughters of the King, as well as pioneering laywomen: Hannah K. Benjamin, Margaret Markee (both buried in the churchyard) and Margaret Rawn.
Today, in a church where women can now serve as church wardens, priests and even bishops, Saint James women continue to live out their faith by offering ministries of education, pastoral care, prayer and service. Click here to view more information about women’s ministries at Saint James.