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Honey Creek Presbyterian Church 
212 W. Jefferson St.
New Carlisle, OH 45344
(937) 845-1298

Rev. Shelley Wiley, PhD

Presbyterian Women

We have two circles that meet at this church:
Martha Circle meets 10:00 AM on 2nd Tuesday each month in the Memorial Room of the Church.
Ruth Circle meets at 1:30 PM on 2nd Wednesday at various homes of members who volunteer to host the meeting.
The circles do not meet in July or August.

The women of Honey Creek Presbyterian Church have been meeting regularly as an organization since May 4, 1885. Though there have been many changes in this organization, the women have supported Honey Creek Church and its mission in a variety of activities.

According to the By-Laws, all women of the church who choose to participate in, or be supportive of the Women of Honey Creek, are members. Many of these women meet in Circles whose function is to provide an inclusive and caring community of women who meet regularly for Bible and Mission study as well as fellowship. These circles usually meet monthly (except during the summer) on a specific day of the month. There is a larger circle of women of the church called Friends of the Women of Honey Creek. This group is composed of all women of the church who wish to aid in the women's activities.

The Women of Honey Creek are proud of their heritage and intend to continue the tradition of service and support for Honey Creek Presbyterian Church. The Coordinating Team for 2010 includes the following: Moderator Beverly Quinn ; Vice-Moderator Mary Jane Sterrett; Secretary Ann Peters; and Treasurer Barb Meyerhoeffer. In addition, the Circle Leaders also serve on the Coordinating Team. They are Martha Circle Leader Betty Bateman, and Ruth Circle Leader Beverly Quinn.

Specific offerings are collected annually by Presbyterian Women to aid with international and national missions. For Church World Service, there are usually two: Tools for Hope, collected in May, and Blanket Sunday, usually in October. Each November there is a Thank Offering collected to support hospitals and health ministries around the world along with other mission projects. An offering to support the WA expenses is collected in February, called the No-Bake Sale: donations of what would be spent to bake or buy an item are collected.

At the monthly Circle meeting, an offering for The Fellowship of the Least Coin is collected. Each woman gives one or more of the least coin of that country; in other words, a penny for those of us in the USA. Once a year all of the local monies are sent together with others from the Miami Presbytery and all others in the United States to an international collecting site. These monies are given for evangelism, service and ecumenical fellowship among women. A report is published annually in Horizon, the PW magazine. In the fall of 2009, the Presbyterian Women paid to have the stairwells in the C.E. Building recarpeted.

A HISTORY OF THE WOMEN OF HONEY CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

The first of our recorded minutes were dated May 4, 1885--a meeting for reorganizing the Ladies Society, held at Mrs. Berryhill's home on April 20. Officers were elected and all present joined the society and "so far as was convenient" paid the membership fee of 25 cents. The women were also fined 10 cents for each missed meeting.

In June of 1885 Pastor Gowdy asked to have two rooms of the parsonage papered, but the women had to turn him down until they cleared their indebtedness. They set to work sewing bonnets and making rugs and soon managed to build up a treasury.

In June of 1886 there was discussion about whether or not to abolish the 10 cent fine for being absent from meeting, "but by vote only those having sickness or death in the family, or being otherwise necessarily absent from town, were excused from the fines."

The Ladies of the Society decided to put off buying dishes in July of 1886, but did agree to paper the Church Vestibule. In August the Young Ladies' Missionary Society turned over $14.28 to the Ladies Society, and in January of 1887 they bought their dishes at a cost of $46.03. In June 1887 it was decided to paper the hall of the Parsonage, which cost $18.37.

The January,1889 meeting minutes recorded, "After considerable discussion it was moved and adopted that the Society purchase one hundred eggs to be distributed among the congregation and used for contributions as an Easter offering to the fund for repairing the church--the ladies to give an "Egg-Breaking Social". In February $4.05 was paid for the "Easter Eggs," and it was also decided to purchase material for "sweeping caps". There were twenty-eight members of the Society at that time.

A letter from Pastor Gowdy was read at the April meeting, which involved discussion of improvements to the church building,--"he would suggest the propriety of investigating further as to papering instead of frescoing the church walls." By June it was the conclusion of the Trustees that the roof of the church had to be replaced, and the women decided to work on the interior without incurring any indebtedness. During 1889 the ladies were making and selling bonnets and carpetbags. They were also serving dinners in the Town Hall, and in October were making wine for the Communion service. At the same time they were conferring with the Session in regard to procuring an organist and they offered to defray the expenses for six months. Initially this amounted to fifty cents a Sunday.

In May of 1890 the minutes indicated the group was now known as The Ladies Aid Society. During 1891 and 1892 the ladies would sew rag strips together for making carpets during their meetings. These rag strips brought five cents a pound from those needing them.

By 1895 the Ladies Aid Society decided a walk should be installed in front of the church and the Parsonage. They wanted a stone walk, and the Trustees kindly consented to their choice. The Ladies had agreed to pay for it.

The minutes of early 1900 recorded the passing of three of the faithful members, prompting the question, "Who will be Next?"

In 1901 the women were shocked to hear they "were greatly in debt" to the tune of $14.00 in taxes on the Parsonage and $15.00 for coal. By March they learned there had been a mistake, so they decided the money they had in the treasury would be used to paper the Sitting Room of the Parsonage. Before they were informed of the "mistake," the ladies decided to initiate the Calendar Socials--one social event each month to raise money for their treasury. The first was set for Feb. 22nd and called the "Martha Washington Social." $13.00 was made.

In March, 1902 plans for the Easter Market were made. "It was decided to have a fifteen cent lunch and serve chicken noodle soup, pressed chicken, cracker bread, butter pickles, eggs and coffee." They also decided to have a candy table, popcorn and ice cream. However in 1903 they decided not to serve the meal (since the menu "was very objectionable") so they had only the food tables and bazaar. In the fall of 1903 the ladies had the Parsonage painted for a total of $88.12.

In February of 1912 the discussion of how to raise funds to meet the Society's pledge toward the minister's salary resulted in the planning of an "afternoon thimble party" to be held on Valentine's Day. The discussion proceeded to plan an evening social "more especially for the gentlemen and young people to be held on the Friday eve preceding St. Patrick's Day."

The first discussion about adding a room to the rear of the church was recorded in the January, 1915 minutes. But after discussion about selling the lot behind the church and building the room, it was decided it was out of their jurisdiction. In April it was agreed that the Society pay for having the city water piped into the Parsonage.

In November of that year, "Our President then reported that the Chairman of the Bd. Of Trustees had spoken to her in regards to the payment of the bill for the cement curb and gutter on the west side of the church property. Said the bill was $61.75. They (the Session?) OK'ed it and had sent him to the Church Treasurer for the money, but he was told there was no money in the treasury, so either we would have to pay it or there would have to be another Canvass of the Congregation made to meet this expense. After considerable discussion it was moved by Mrs. Julia Morris and seconded by Mrs. Mary Black that we pay this bill. After some delay, it carried."

During 1918 and until April 1919 it was decided no refreshments be served, and the money usually spent on them would go toward the war effort. In April it was voted upon to resume refreshments.

In February of 1921 the Society was informed that the proposal to build an annex on to the church would be coming before the Congregation at its Annual Meeting. The women voted to pledge $500.00 toward the building fund if it was approved. Then in September the women were asked to pledge an additional $400.00 so that the new Church Parlors would essentially be paid for.
The women's first meeting in the Church Parlors was on October 7, 1921. At that meeting, as at many meetings before and since, the treasury was low and the need to raise money was apparent.

The attendance and giving of the Ladies Aid Society fell drastically during the last few months of 1922 and the first months of 1923--and the thought was that because the church was without a pastor for seven months, attendance and commitment had dropped. With the calling of a new pastor, hopes for a change were high. They never stopped working and still were able to clean, repair and paper the Parsonage, keep paying on their additional $400.00 pledge for the Church Parlors, and pay for the services of the church organist, to mention only a few of the responsibilities they took upon themselves. Depending upon who the secretary was at the moment, the room behind the church was referred to as the Church Parlors, the Annex and later, the Social Room.

There was no Easter bazaar in 1931, but the Easter suppers were still held. It seems the menu fluctuated between chicken in some form and ham, and later beef loaf or meatloaf became popular. There was often much discussion and disagreement about the menu. Have things changed?

The Easter bazaar returned in 1937, and it was also the year the women decided to purchase a new stove for $139.00 to be installed before Easter.

The first May Breakfast was a regular meeting of the Ladies Aid Society in 1937, and continued in that manner until 1954.

At the June, 1937 meeting as part of the program Miss Marjorie Trostel played a piano solo and a reading was offered by Miss Mary Catherine Malone.

In the minutes of the March 1939 meeting is the following: "There being no other business, the entertainment committee then took charge of the meeting and gave several ladies of the Sociey the privilege of stepping on the Magic Carpet and broadcasting over radio station WHIO. This program is sponsored by Certified Bread and each lady who broadcasted received a coupon book for 5 loaves of bread and also the privilege of hearing themselves on the air the following morning at 9 o'clock over this station."

It was in the fall of 1939 that the burgundy carpet was installed in the aisles and in the choir loft and pulpit. It was still there when many of the current members arrived at the church in the early 1960's.(New carpet was installed in 1972.)

In May of 1940 the first Mother-Daughter Banquet was held. Mildred Weinland was Secretary at that time.

It was in the late 1930s and 1940s that familiar names were appearing on the Society's rolls: Olive Luse, Nellie Meredith, Esther Kieffer, Harriett McCullough, Kitty Smith, Celestia Stafford, Isabelle Staup, Marie Staup, Inez Teach, Elizabeth Trostel, Etta Miller, Mildred Weinland, Marian Weinland, Vesta Wisler, Helen Williams, Charlie Brubaker. These women served as officers of the Society/Association and worked hard at the duties they set for themselves.

In 1941 the Ladies Aid Society and the Missionary Society began meeting together regularly, but each organization maintained its own officers, and business was conducted separately.

1942 brought two big changes--the combining of the Ladies Aid Society and the Missionary Society to form the Women's Association. War had also come, and New Carlisle formed its own Red Cross Headquarters, and the women of the community, Presbyterian Women among them, began organizing for work. In November of 1942 it was voted upon to change the names from "the Women's Association to The Presbyterian Society. The minutes also reflect that there were twelve young men of the church in military service.

At the 1944 May Breakfast, John Larason, 2nd Class Gunners Mate, spoke to the group about life on board ship. The second speaker, Mrs. Louise Hyder, was from the Clark County Civilian Defense through which the ladies were able to get 35 lbs. of sugar. She also urged them to save all scrap paper, magazines and cereal boxes in order to further the war effort.

Apparently the first step toward forming Circles came in October of 1945 when three groups were organized for the purpose of serving as hostesses for the various meals and were referred to as groups 1,2 and 3. The title of "Women's Association" was re-instated in April of 1946.

The organ chimes were voted on and approved as a memorial to the Hamlet sisters, using money left to the organization by Minnie Hamlet.

By December of 1950 the "Cold War" was a part of the lives of everyone, and Kitty Smith announced plans for a Civilian Defense movie in New Carlisle and urged all who could to take advantage of viewing it.

In 1951, cook books compiled from Association member's recipes were sold, as well as Jell-O and vanilla. Three "Come As You Are" breakfasts were served. Bandages were made for the Cancer Society. The kitchen was painted. Boxes of clothing and toys were sent to Kentucky. Candy and cookies were sent to servicemen overseas and to college students. By the end of the year, six additional robes were made for the Junior Choir.

The Association began collecting Betty Crocker coupons in 1954, and the women were informed by Clark County authorities that they were required to have a permit for serving food and that the kitchen had to be inspected by the Health Department. The fee was $1.00.

The 1954 budget was $925.00, one-third staying with the local Women's Association, and two-thirds going to others. The budget was followed by the statement: "If we know, we care. If we care, we share."

Minutes for several years were not available for review. The historical review begins again with the following:

The Women's Association continued as a vital part of the life of Honey Creek. Construction of the Christian Education facility led to efforts by the women to furnish an expanded kitchen facility, to continue service for community needs such as establishment of a place for the needy to find clothing and food, and to continue many of the annual activities that have been described previously. The late 1970s renovations of the church facility itself provided opportunities for further contributions for the beauty and comfort of the church members in the parlor, now called the Memorial Room. Various community groups currently use this area as well.

Changes however have occurred. The annual May Breakfast became the May Brunch for many years, then was no longer held as daytime social events and activities for women also changed. On May 4, 2005, a May Lunch was begun as a new effort to replace the brunch. The Election Day Bazaar became a full church membership activity, rather than of the Women's Association alone, and we not longer have the Fourth of July ice-cream social.

Much has not changed. There now two Circles who meet for Bible study and fellowship. The Coordinating Team of the Women of Honey Creek Presbyterian Church meet regularly to plan for annual events, coordinate with other Session Committees in the needs of the church, and provide monetary support for mission projects through the Women of the Miami Presbytery and the Synod of the Covenant. Instead of sewing projects for overseas missions, annual offerings for Blanket Sunday and Tools for Hope sponsored through Church Women United are collected in worship service as is the Thank Offering. The Birthday Offering and Least Coin Offerings collected at the circle meetings are among those that are sent to the Women of Miami Presbytery for distribution through Presbyterian Church USA agencies.

 


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