Search this site

By Word & Example


A Bicentennial Project of the Episcopal Church Women

Guidelines for Submitting a “BY WORD & EXAMPLE” Sketch



November 22, 1919 – October 11, 2005

by Charles K. (Ken) McCotter, Jr., Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Margaret Mitchell Hay StallingsMargaret Mitchell Hay Stallings was born in Charleston, South Carolina. She was the daughter of Samuel Marion Hay and Mabel Sutherland Mitchell Hay. She was reared in Mount Pleasant, across the Cooper River from Charleston, and attended grade and high school in Charleston. After graduating from the College of Charleston in 1940, she attended Graduate School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she met her husband, Robert Lee Stallings, Jr., from New Bern. They lived in San Diego, California, Urbana, Illinois, and Chapel Hill, North, before moving to New Bern in 1951 with their two children, Mary and Buddy.

Margaret was a cradle Episcopalian, baptized and confirmed at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. After moving to New Bern, it was only natural that she and Bob became involved at Christ Episcopal Church. The family attended Sunday School and Church each Sunday. Margaret was one of the founding members of St. Margaret’s, a Chapter of the Episcopal Church Women, and was active until her death. She was one of the chapter leaders involved in publishing and hand collating the first cookbook published in the 1950s by the Christ Church Churchwomen (the one with the wooden cover and handwritten recipes, one to a page). Another fundraiser that she dearly loved was the annual fall church bazaar, which was held in the Parish House. A benefit was that the ladies got to better know each other by working together, in addition to raising money for their projects. Margaret presented an idea from her childhood church of the flowering of cross by the children on Easter Day. The five-foot wooden cross was covered in chicken wire and then transformed into a beautiful cross with the flowers that the children brought and placed on it during the offertory. Margaret helped make Chrismons for the sanctuary Christmas tree.

Margaret was an active member of the Altar Guild for over thirty years. At this time, ladies were invited to serve on the Altar Guild by the parish priest. As a part of her Altar Guild ministry Margaret cleaned and prepared the Lay Eucharistic Ministry boxes each week for the Eucharistic visitors to take communion to shut-ins and hospital patients.

Margaret was interested in Christian Education. As a couple, Margaret and Bob hosted Bible studies in their home. Margaret served as one of the docents at the Church on weekday afternoons where she led tours and answered questions of the many visitors.

In addition to church activities, Margaret and Bob were very active in the New Bern Historical Society and were founding members of the New Bern Preservation Foundation which was organized to save local historic homes and buildings.

Margaret was interested in others – always wanting to learn and to be exposed to new ideas. Her hospitality and her friendly manner endeared her to others. No one could ever forget that beautiful smile.



February 9, 1923 – May 6, 2000

by Episcopal Church Women of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Hamlet, NC, 2014

Jean S. SmithJean S. Smith was born in Richmond, Virginia. After her marriage to John B. Smith, Jr., Jean moved to Hamlet, North Carolina. Jean and John had two daughters, Gretchen and Gail.

 While living in Hamlet Jean was an active member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and twice served as a board member of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of North Carolina.

Jean was a sponsor for the Episcopal Young Churchmen, and several members have fond memories of devotions, games and spaghetti dinners at her home.

In the community Jean received the Governor’s Volunteer Award for her work as a reading tutor in the Richmond County public school system. She also served as a long-time trustee of the Regional Library System and was a 35-year Red Cross volunteer.

After John’s death Jean moved to Chapel Hill. She was active at the Chapel Hill Senior Center where she taught an exercise class for many years. She was also an active volunteer in the Chapel Hill public school system, the Morehead Planetarium, Habitat for Humanity, the Playmakers, and the Chapel Hill Historical Society.



by Victor William Bustard, M.D., Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, North Carolina, 2016

Ann Victoria Harris BustardAnn Bustard was born in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, where she attended elementary, middle, and high school. Her family attended Trinity Anglican Church where she was baptized, confirmed and married. After graduation from high school, she continued her education at the University of Toronto, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Languages. Next, Ann graduated from the Ontario College of Education with certificates to teach French and Latin in high school. Ann taught in many different locales, and her love of teaching has continued to this day.

In August 1978, the family moved to New Bern where her husband Vic opened a medical office to practice Obstetrics and Gynecology. On their first Sunday they attended Christ Episcopal Church with their two children, Jim and Suzy, and here they found a welcoming parish family.

Ann has been involved in many ministries: teaching Sunday School for more than 25 years; Sunday School superintendent; Vestry (three terms); Altar Guild; Parish Ministry; and Prayer Shawl Ministry. In 1991, she organized the ministry to take Communion to the hospital and shut-ins.

Ann’s interest and passion for children and youth led her to leadership positions in the parish and diocese. For many years she served as Director of Children’s Ministries. For two years she was also the interim Campus Minister at St. Paul’s in Greenville. She attended many conferences at Kanuga and beyond to enhance her skills. In 2000, she and her team introduced Journey to Adulthood to the parish, followed by Godly Play. Built into the J2A program was a pilgrimage; Ann and a group of chaperones and teens traveled to South Dakota to experience the life and history of the Lakota Native Americans. She will tell you that this experience was one of the highlights of her life.

Ann has always had a heart for Pastoral Care; she felt led to pursue the fifty hours of training to become a Stephen Minister. Later she trained to become a Stephen Leader, serving for eleven years. Stephen Ministry gave her the opportunity to exercise her gifts as a mentor and nurturer to adults in crisis. She is now a member of Daughters of the King whose members are dedicated to prayer, evangelism and service. In January 2017, Ann will assume the role of President of Episcopal Church Women to continue the excellent work of her predecessors. She has served at the past three memorable General Conventions representing East Carolina as first Alternate or Deputy. She has had the great privilege of witnessing the election of two Presiding Bishops, one in 2006 and the other in 2015.

Ann has been blessed by the opportunities which God has given her to grow her faith. Her daily mantra is to be obedient to God and to serve Him wherever she is needed. Her mother once told her that when God opened a door, she needed to walk through, demonstrating a willing heart and a relentless spirit. She continues to follow her mother’s advice.



March 1893 – January 1987

by Ellen C Weig, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, NC, 2016

Anna Louise “Robbie” RobertsonThe training to be a deaconess, director of education, or a parish worker at the Church Training and Deaconess House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, took two to three years of rigorous study and included courses on the Bible and Church history, nurse’s training, and practical skills training in sewing, home economics, running meetings, parish visiting and public relations.[1]  Anna Louise Robertson entered the school in 1917, graduated in 1919, and came to North Carolina to be a parish and community worker.

Anna, born in Kentucky, was the daughter of Lloyd and Alberta Dodge Robertson. We don’t know what prompted her to train as a Deaconess - we do know that she began her life’s work, primarily as an educator, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1920 by establishing the parochial kindergarten and as Director of Education. The next year she went to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to serve as Deaconess and community worker for the Tolar-Hart Mills for three years.[2] While there she wrote the “mystery play” entitled “Lady Catechism.”

In 1924 Anna returned to Good Shepherd in Wilmington. By the next year she had revived the parochial kindergarten. She served Good Shepherd as a parish worker, continued to write plays in which the Woman’s Auxiliary and church school students played parts, and became very involved with the Young People’s Service League (YPLS). For a number of years she was a teacher at Camp Leach, Washington, NC. One of her campers wrote that she taught them “the aims and purposes of the League and how to achieve them” in her YPSL methods class.[3] Her relationship with Good Shepherd’s rector, the Rev. Edward Clark McConnell and his wife, Florence, was clearly a close one. When the McConnell’s baby daughter, Carolyn Ann, was baptized, Anna provided a gift of water for the baptism from the Jordan River, given to her by Deaconess Shaw of the Philippines.[4]

After spending more than fifteen years at Good Shepherd, Anna left Wilmington to take a similar job at Christ Chapel in Kinston, N.C. During the 1930s and 1940s she continued her involvement at Camp Leach and was the Convocation of Wilmington’s counselor and chairman for YPSL. She retired from her work in Kinston in 1951 and returned to Wilmington and Good Shepherd where she continued to do volunteer work. In 1982 she was honored for her service by the people of St. Mary’s, Kinston, at “Anna Louise Robertson Day.”[5] Anna died in Wilmington in 1987 and is buried in the Oakdale Cemetery.

[1] Donovan, Mary Sudman.

[2] The Mission Herald, 1923, November.

[3] “Y.P.S.L.: My Personal Experience” in The Mission Herald. October, 1940. p. 11.

[4] The Mission Herald. 1936, January 2. p. 11

[5] The History of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kinston, North Carolina, 1832-1982



August 6, 1896 – May 7, 1993

by Nelson McDaniel, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Gertrude Sprague CarrawayMiss Gertrude Sprague Carraway was born in New Bern, North Carolina, in the same house where she died, yet she was a woman who was always on the move. Born at a time when women in America could not vote and were often expected to follow assigned roles, she did not wait for movements to create her opportunities; she was a movement.

Miss Gertrude had a lifelong devotion to Christ Church in New Bern and wrote its most complete history, Crown of Life. She graduated from Woman’s College, today UNC-Greensboro, and attended Columbia University for graduate studies. First a teacher, it was as a school newspaper advisor that her talents in journalism quickly appeared. Along with newspaper work in Smithfield and New Bern, she wrote hundreds of articles and tracts, as well as several noted books. Her love of both the Word and the word, and her talents in elocution and writing, became important in her many leadership roles.

Early on as a freelance journalist Miss Gertrude often used her initials in bylines. Admirers of her work were sometimes surprised that the writer was a woman. A woman she was – one who both figuratively and literally marched with resolute purpose. While she may not have moved mountains (as far as we know), she and a group of others, mostly women, did move a highway and a bridge.

That challenge came as Miss Gertrude and other remarkable leaders sought to restore and rebuild Tryon Palace in New Bern. Begun in the 1920s, these efforts slowed during the Depression and World War II. During that war, Miss Gertrude received twelve awards for patriotic service on the home front. Following the war, she fought to create a site in New Bern that would provide the opportunity to teach both North Carolina and American history. The challenges were great, but Miss Gertrude and her colleagues proved greater. She was the first Secretary of the Tryon Palace Commission (1945-56), then was administrator of the restored site (1956-71), where the research library and garden carry her name.

Miss Gertrude joined the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1926 and assumed many leadership roles at the state and national level, including President General from 1953 to 1956. In that capacity, she is credited with persuading President Dwight D. Eisenhower to proclaim Constitution Week each year. Eisenhower was one of several Presidents who benefitted from her advice. And successive North Carolina governors appointed her to over twelve positions, including the Executive Board of the State Department of Archives and History, an appointment that lasted from 1942 until her death. In that capacity, she was instrumental in creating the state’s highway marker program. With such memberships, honorary degrees, publication titles and accolades her influence was wide.

Unfailingly polite, Miss Gertrude would greet everyone on the street, but seldom stop, unless for a purpose. Gossip and idle talk were not part of the plan. Action was. Always on a mission, aided by many, well done, thou good and faithful servant.