The Women’s Auxiliary of Canada was founded in 1885 which later became the Anglican Church Women. The W.A. was formed to support missionary endeavours of the Church overseas and in Canada. Through the years this support has continued and broadened to include other areas of the work of the church. Some of St. John’s W.A. projects that spanned many years included support for the church in Northern Ontario, relief work in the parish during the 1930’s depression, making protective clothing and knitted article for the armed forces during the Second World War, starting the Pudding Factory in 1949, founding the Pakistan Embroidery project and furnishing rooms for Renison College when it was dedicated in 1962.
Another active women’s group was the Ladies’ Aid Society organized in 1902 by the rector. The object of this group was to raise funds for parish purposes and to aid with work of the parish as shall from time to time be decided upon by the rector and the Society. In their first year they raised enough funds to purchase a pipe organ and motor for about $2000. In the following few years, they purchased a surplice, stole and altar cloths, a desk telephone for the rector as well as improving the church interior and exterior. This organization was later renamed the Parish Workers.
In 1966, the Annual Meeting of the Dominion Board of the W.A. revised their Constitution and made a name change to Anglican Church Women to provide an umbrella organization for coordinating women’s ministries in parishes and dioceses. The ACW continued the work that had been ongoing through the W.A. and Parish Workers and Altar Guild and at St. John’s, new projects were started that included the Clothes Closet and Parish Services to minister to the sick and shut-ins.
While women’s roles have changed in the past 40 years, the ACW continues a very active ministry at St. John’s. Our yearly cycle of activities provide opportunities for worship, outreach, fellowship and stewardship. Projects such as the Clothes Closet and Gift Case are ongoing all year while others, such as Pudding Factory and Bales, are focused at specific times. The funds raised are given to St. John’s parish operating budget and to outreach. In the past some of the organizations that we have supported include, Huron Church Camp, St. Monica House, St. John’s Kitchen, Mary’s Place, Anna Kaljas, Lutherwood Child and Parent Place, Sleeping Children Around the World, ROOF, Dr. Graham’s Home, Nutrition for Learning and Little Dragon’s Day Camp.
We continue to provide refreshments for parish fellowship through the Catering Team, Sunday Coffee Hour and Funeral Receptions. All help to build fellowship and are carried out cheerfully with caring and goodwill.
We are proud of the inspiration and leadership of our ladies throughout many years, but in particular the spirit of Mildred Robertson is still felt although she passed away a number of years ago. She was St. John’s W.A. President 1946 – 1948. With her leadership, the membership grew to 63. She founded the Pudding Factory in 1949 and was Dominion President of the Women’s Auxiliary in 1962 then became the National President of the A.C.W. when it was founded in 1966. She received the Order of Huron in 1980, one of the first three, and the first woman to be honoured.