Presbyterian Women (PW) History
The PW is the national women’s organization of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). The PW has a history of more than 200 years and more than 300,000 current members.
In 1835, the Women of First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange first organized as the Ladies Aid Society. The Society purchased an organ for our church, the first organ ever in a church in LaGrange. They assumed all the expenses of the church except the pastor’s salary. They made money in various ways, sewing, cooking, writing and producing plays which were presented at Bellevue (then called Sterling Hall.)
During the War Between the States, the Ladies Aid Society was disbanded. All the women of LaGrange formed the Soldier’s Aid Society to care for the sick and wounded in the Confederate hospitals in LaGrange.
Although the name has changed several times — Women’s Auxiliary, Women of the Church, and now Presbyterian Women — the heart of the work remains the same, serving the church and its members as well as the community and its citizens. (from the PW cookbook Predestined to be Better (2002). Historians Eunice Carr, Eileen Cowart, and Page Holle.)
Programs Supported by First Presbyterian Women
First Presbyterian Church Programs
Thursday Lunch Program: Every week - Circles provide 150 dessert for the Thursday Lunch Program. Each circle provides desserts on Thursday each month. PW holds a church wide collection for personal care items for program participants (October emphasis).
Deacon’s Love Fund: PW women give offerings for the Deacon’s Love Fund. This fund provides emergency assistance for people in need (April emphasis).
Dove Tree Christmas Gifts: Church members and PW give offering or purchase gifts for Dove Tree Christmas gifts for local children in need (December Emphasis).
Church Easter Egg Hunt: PW provides candy filled plastic eggs for our church Easter Egg hunt (March emphasis).
Newborn Baby Bibles and Rose: PW women recognize the birth of all babies born to church members by placing a rose on the organ on Sunday and by giving the family a Bible and the rose.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters: Match local children with adults mentors in professional supported one-on-one relationships.
Camp Viola: Founded by Miss Viola Burks in 1926 in Mountville, GA. A summer camp for local children who might not otherwise have a camp experience. First Presbyterian Church provides one week of Bible school and a camp experience for local school children each summer.
Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia, Inc.: Provides programs to help local youth reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.
C.A.S.A. of Troup County - “Court Appointed Special Advocate”: This mission provides screened, trained, and supervised volunteers who speak as advocates for the best interest of abused and neglected children involved in juvenile deprivation proceedings.
Florence Hand Home Birthday Party: Each October our PW provides a birthday party for residents of the Florence Hand Home celebrating October birthdays.
Harmony House: Local domestic violence shelter providing shelter, security, crisis intervention, education, and advocacy for adults and children of domestic violence.
LaGrange Council of Church Women Clothing Center and Shoe Fund: 411 Ridley Ave. The Clothing Center is staffed by women from many local churches. Our PW volunteers time and gives a donation to purchase new school shoes provided by the Center each year to needy children.
LaGrange Interfaith Food Closet: 416 Pierce St. The Food Closest provides temporary and emergency food assistance to our community. Our PW volunteers time working at the Food Closet and donates funds.
LaGrange Personal Aid Association: Local agency provides emergency financial assistance for rent, mortgage, or utility payments.
Twin Cedars Youth Services: Local non-profit organization provides residential treatment and services for boy and girls ages 7-17 who have suffered from sexual abuse, trauma, or severe emotional disturbances.
Blue Blessing Boxes /Columbia Friendship Circle: Women who wish to do so may keep a bank or “Blessing Box” in which she shares the joys and good things with which she has been blessed. The money goes to the Columbia Friendship Circle to assist Columbia Seminary students or their families.
Columbia Seminary: Our denomination has four seminaries. Columbia, in Decatur, Ga. is the seminary supported by the Synod of South Atlantic. Our church is part of the Synod of South Atlantic.
Camp Calvin, Hampton GA.: A year-round camp and conference center operated as a ministry of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. Members of our church attend Camp Calvin several times a year.
Mission Haven: Apartments and homes (rent free), for missionaries who are on home assignment. Located at 225 Inman Drive, Decatur, Georgia. As of fall 2007, the Presbyterian Women will no longer receive used clothing for Mission Haven. Mission Haven will accept monetary donations to purchase new clothing.
Presbyterians Homes for Elderly and Retired: (“Santa Claus Express” collected in November). Our PW collects specified items each year for residents of Presbyterian Homes in Quitman and Austell, Georgia (November emphasis).
Ronald McDonald House, Columbus, GA.: Provides lodging for parents of children in local hospitals. Our PW collects pop-top tabs which are taken once a year to Columbus. A pop-top tab collection box is located in the church office.
PW - Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Programs
Birthday Offering: (May’s General meeting and offering). Since 1922 the Birthday Offering has been collected by Presbyterian Women each spring. In 1922, women gave one penny for each year of their age. Today women are asked to “give as you are blessed.” This offering funds up to five projects each year. The projects are selected and approved by the Presbyterian General Assembly and may be located in the U.S. or anywhere in the world (May emphasis).
Fellowship of the Least Coin : (collected monthly) The FLC is an ecumenical prayer movement focusing on peace, justice, and reconciliation. As each of us offer our prayers, we should set aside a “least coin” as a symbol of our prayers. As our “least coins” are collected, these coins join many others from all parts of the world. The offering funds Presbyterian Women (P.C.U.S.A.) programs that help women and children achieve a better life.
Ecumenical Mission Project - World Outreach
Ecumenical Mission Project: (February General meeting and offering) Each year the Ecumenical Mission and Relations chair and the PW Coordinating Team select one world outreach mission project to support. In the past, we have supported Kristen DeCelle’s African mission and medical mission work trips to Haiti by LaGrange doctors (February emphasis).