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By Word & Example

WOMEN WHO GRACED THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN NORTH CAROLINA, 1817-2017

A Bicentennial Project of the Episcopal Church Women

Guidelines for Submitting a “BY WORD & EXAMPLE” Sketch

Sunday
Jul302017

ELIZABETH WADE GRANT

January 2, 1926 – January 27, 2017

by Rosalie Fonda, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, NC, 2016

Elizabeth Wade GrantElizabeth Wade Grant (Betty) was born in South Bend, Indiana, and soon after the family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Her parents were Florence Peabody of Malden, Massachusetts, and Roderic Paul Wade of Howe, Indiana. She attended high school at Baltimore Friends, before going to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. After graduation in 1947 she won a scholarship to study French in Paris, hosted by the French government. These fellowships were a way France could help repay the United States for its help in World War II.

Betty was one of the original members of St. Luke’s Church, Durham, in 1956. She helped start both Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity in Durham. From 1983 to 1985 she was president of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina. She was also active in the early years of Durham Congregations in Action, which is an interfaith bi-racial group which met monthly to help Durham attend to some of the most pressing problems in that era. In April 2013 she received the Pass the Peace Award from the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, of which she was a founding member. This award was given in recognition of “prophetic leadership; and steadfast service to justice for all Durham citizens.”

On January 10, 1970, Betty was chosen by the Rev. J. E. C. Harris (Ted) to be Senior Warden at St. Luke’s. Thus she was the first woman in the diocese to be a senior warden. She served for two years.

After an internship at St. Stephen’s Church, she was ordained to the vocational diaconate at St. Luke’s on June 17, 1989. She served briefly at St. Luke’s before spending nine years as a deacon at St. Joseph’s in West Durham. Then she served almost fifteen years as a part-time chaplain at Duke University Hospital until she retired in 2003.

Monday
Jul102017

ELIZABETH GORDON GRIFFIN

January 23, 1890 – September 25, 1968

by David Curtis Skaggs, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Elizabeth Gordon GriffinElizabeth Gordon Griffin’s parents were Camilla Cook Vaughn Griffin and William Joseph Griffin. Her maternal grandparents were Camilla Helen Cook and Maurice Hamilton Vaughn, who served as rector of Christ Church, Elizabeth City from 1859-60 and 1870-73.

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the missionary activities of Anglican Communion extended worldwide. Epitomizing this tradition was Christ Church’s Elizabeth Gordon Griffin. Before she left for missionary work in the Philippines Miss Griffin devoted seven months of work on a new altar cloth that was dedicated on All Saints Day 1930. She encouraged women of the parish to give pieces of lace in memory of friends or relatives.  The 61 gifts were then sewed into a fair linen, credence table cloth, chalice veil and corporal.  At the time of its dedication this altar cloth is only one of three of its kind in the country, the others being at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

“Miss Lizzie,” as Miss Griffin was known to members of the parish, was the treasurer of the Missionary Diocese of the Philippine Islands when she was captured by the Japanese in 1942. She was among more than 2,000 mostly non-combatants confined at Los Baños Agricultural College near the shore of a large lake south of Manila known as Laguna de Bay. Fearing for their safety as American forces advanced on Luzon, a daring surprise land, amphibious and airborne rescue operation by elements of the 11th Airborne Division on February 24, 1945, freed all the prisoners.*

After a year’s rest in New Bern, she returned to the Philippines and continued her missionary duties which lasted twenty-five years. Following her retirement in 1955, she became very energetic in Christ Church activities, particularly with the Episcopal Church Women.

According to Christ Church historian Gertrude S. Carraway, the church’s silver receiving basin for holding the alms basins is a memorial to Miss Elizabeth Gordon Griffin, “Christ’s Faithful Soldier and Servant, 1931-1955, Missionary to the Philippines.” Custom-made in England, with embossed religious symbols, this basin was ordered and approved by a special parish committee and donated by Camilla Vaughn Griffin (Mrs. Victor William) Herlevich in memory of her aunt.

*As part of the Naval History & Heritage Command Papers housed at East Carolina University, there is a collection relating to Elizabeth G. Griffin’s internment, along with correspondence about efforts of the U. S. Department of State and the National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church to exchange internees, and letters written by Miss Griffin upon her release revealing details of her rescue by American forces, her reflections on life in Los Baños, and her return to New Bern: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/research-guides/source-guide-entry-by-state/north-carolina/east-carolina-university.html.

Thursday
Jun292017

CAROLYN GARRISON DUCKETT

b. 1937

by Mary Louise Burress, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2016

Carolyn Garrison DuckettCarolyn Garrison Duckett, born in Hamlet, North Carolina, to Ralph and Evelyn Blackley Garrison, was confirmed on Easter Eve 1957 by the beloved Bishop Matthew George Henry at St. Andrew’s, Canton, in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. Bishop Henry was a 1931 graduate of the University of North Carolina, along with Carolyn’s father, and confirmed three generations of Ducketts in St. Andrew’s parish in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Carolyn, her husband Charles, and their four children were active members of the parish until their move to Winston-Salem in 1975.

Carolyn had attended St. Paul’s while a student at both Salem Academy and Salem College, and sandwiched volunteer work at the church, primarily on bazaars and conventions, in between the demands of an active family. She also served as treasurer of the ECW Council.

In 1983 the family moved east, and St. Thomas’s Parish in Bath presented new opportunities for service. Carolyn and Charles worked tirelessly for both St. Thomas’s and Historic Bath. By 2003 the parish had become self-supporting, with a full-time priest in 1989 for the first time in its long history. Sunday attendance averaged more than 100 at two services. The Historic Bath Foundation had been established and was planning for the 2005 celebration of the 300th anniversary of Bath’s having been the first town chartered in North Carolina. The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, and Lady Carey were honored guests at St. Thomas’s for a full week-end of services during the celebration.

In 2003, returning once again to Winston-Salem and St. Paul’s, Carolyn became an active member of several committees. She was a founding member of a group (along with members of St. Stephen’s) that sought to understand and undo racism, she was a co-leader of St. Mary’s Circle, and she served as president of the ECW Council. Carolyn was honored to plan the visits for, and to host her close friends, Lord and Lady Carey and Dr. and Mrs. Daniel P. Matthews, in 2007 and 2011.

Carolyn continues to volunteer for the bazaar and the white elephant sale, and is a member of the Agape Host Group. She has a long and close relationship with the three parishes she has served in the three dioceses across North Carolina. She considers these opportunities to be gifts and blessings.

Thursday
Jun152017

WINIFRED NOBLE BLANTON

November 24, 1921 – March 29, 2005

by Elizabeth G. (Bett) Hargrave, Grace Episcopal Church, Lexington, NC, 2016

Winifred Noble (Winsie) BlantonWinifred Noble Blanton, “Winsie” to all who knew her, was a true pioneer in forging social justice in a rural, Southern town. She was clear about her values of equality for women and African Americans and she worked diligently in her church and other community organizations toward achieving these goals.

Don and Winsie moved to Lexington in 1957 and were leaders in their parish, Grace Episcopal Church for almost 50 years. Winsie sang in the choir, served on the Vestry, was active in the ECW, and the Adult Planning Committee that conducted a popular Sunday School Forum for adults. Her passion was social justice and she was a perennial member of the church’s outreach program, the Social Concerns Commission. She was involved in the church’s Refugee Resettlement Program which brought a number of Cambodian refugees to Lexington to help them build new and productive lives.

Winsie’s commitment to social justice was extended into the larger Lexington community. She helped found the local Meals on Wheels program and was a loyal Grace Church volunteer for many years. She was instrumental in the establishment and ongoing activities of the Lexington Ecumenical Social Ministries, an important inter-denominational agency serving the disadvantaged population by providing emergency crisis Assistance. She was among the first volunteers to be trained and help in the Lexington Domestic Violence program. In the beginning she contributed to the telephone help line for victims and, as the program grew, led the effort to establish a permanent shelter.

One of her more important contributions was as an advocate for Davidson County Community Action, Inc., an organization that was designed to be an incubator for new and innovative programs. As an active board member, in addition to fundraising, she helped establish programs like the Neighborhood Youth Corps, Head Start, Community Food and Nutrition, Drug Prevention, High School Drop Out Prevention and Day Care Centers.

Another of Winsie’s passion was women’s rights. She was the first woman to run for political office by filing for a seat on the Lexington City Council in 1962. Although unsuccessful in winning a seat, she raised the consciousness of many in the community to advocate for women in politics. As a founding member of the Lexington Women’s Political Caucus, she paved the way for the first woman to be elected to the council in 1981 and the first woman to be elected to the county commission in 1982. She was one of two women sent by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina to participate in the national Task Force on the Concerns of Women.

Winsie Blanton was an inspiration to all who were fortunate enough to know her and work with her.

Thursday
May252017

LAURA LOUISE HOOPER

May 9, 1920 – October 9, 2012

by Gertrude Murchison, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, 2016 

Laura Louise HooperMiss Laura Louise Hooper, a lady who shared her gifts, was the daughter of Thomas Harrison Hooper and Willie Taylor Hooper of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was a lifelong member of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, where she was dedicated to the ministry of the church, spiritually, physically and financially. Her earliest memory of the church’s clergy was that of the Rev. Joseph Theodore McDuffie, who served the congregation from 1924 to 1927.

Laura was trained early to work in the church. She washed the church’s linen, sang in both the youth and adult choirs and played the organ for many congregational ministries. She taught Sunday school for several years and motivated many young people. She grew flowers for the beautification of the outside of the church and taught flower arranging to the church women. Along with doing calligraphy for the church and the Episcopal Church Women, she was the “go to person” when historical information about the church, the Episcopal Church Women and the Diocese of North Carolina was needed.

Laura developed her talents in oil acrylic painting and a range of sewing skills from quilting to knitting and crocheting. She also taught the church women these skills, and they made aprons and kneelers. She served the Women’s Auxiliary/Episcopal Church Women as a youth advisor, Christian Education leader, a Christian Social Relations member, and was the branch ECW Treasurer for many years. She also served as a member of the St. Stephen’s Vestry.

At the diocesan level Laura participated in many ways, including service as a Lay Delegate to several Diocesan Conventions and ECW Annual Meetings. She mentored many of Saint Stephen’s church women and women in the community. The Episcopal Church was very dear to Laura Louise Hooper’s heart and she was an inspiration to all she met.