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– Enjoy more historical vignettes at the ECW Annual Meeting


For almost two hundred years now, women in North Carolina have been key players in getting many Episcopal Churches organized, built and maintained. Too often the historical accounts mention only a “devoted woman,” “several earnest church women,” or simply “the ladies of the Parish.” When a woman was named it was very often as a “Miss” or as a “Mrs.,” with her husband’s name or initials following. An excerpt from Bishop Cheshire’s 1872 Convention Address offers a good example of generous praise for an anonymous “lady” whose faith, need and perseverance laid the groundwork for Guilford County’s first Episcopal Church:

“Our flock there was most truly a little one, and never had been otherwise – they never had a minister settled among them or regular services, and no hope of a church; a lady, however, came to live there, who felt it necessary for her own spiritual welfare, and that of her family, to receive the instruction and the ordinances which the Church administers; they were dependent on the exertions of an invalid husband and father, but nothing daunted by all these obstacles she set herself to procure the erection of a church, and obtained a considerable sum for that purpose, and elicited a good deal of sympathy in its behalf. Circumstances, however, made it necessary that this family should remove from Greensboro, and it then seemed as if the work would be suspended, if not altogether arrested; but in the meantime another family moved to the place possessed by the same spirit, and having at heart the same objects.”

Within two years the new family, identified as that of Dr. Foulkes, and some others had built a new church, duly consecrated as St. Barnabas, which name was changed in 1910 to Holy Trinity Parish.

What was this “lady’s” name? Beginning with the 2010 Annual Meeting and continuing through our Diocesan Bicentennial Celebration in 2017, you in every parish will be asked for help in “naming names” – first, middle, maiden and married! This long-term project, named “By Word and Example: Women Who Have Graced the Episcopal Church in North Carolina, 1817-2017,” will rely on people in places large and small throughout the state, including all three Episcopal dioceses. It’s not too early to start digging around in local church, family, library and online records to identify and compile short profiles of our women who served “not only with their lips, but in their lives.” If you have any questions about this project please don’t hesitate to contact Lynn Hoke at: