Episcopal Church Women
If you are female, by virture of your interest and attendance at St. James Episcopal Church, you are a member of the Episcopal Church Women. There are no meeting requirements, no dues, and no agenda other than that expressed in the national statement: Our vision for all women of the Episcopal Church is that we become a vibrant blend of all ages, coming together as a peacemaking, healing part of the Church. We aspire to be a Godspark-shining and sharing the love of Christ.
The ECW at St. James is organized into chapters generally divided only by the meeting time preference and needs of each group. The Sts. Monica, Agnes & Edith Chapter meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. in a member's home for study and lunch. The St. Joan Chapter meets on the first Wednesday of each month, generally in a member's home.
All ECW members (chapter member, or not), as well as quite a few of the men of St. James, come together each spring for the famous St. James Gumbo lunches. Each Friday during Lent, Gumbo lunches -- dine-in or take-out -- are hosted in Bishops Hall with the proceeds going into the ECW budget.
Lent 2012 marked the 61st Anniversary of Lenten Gumbo at St. James!
A May luncheon celebrates another year of Gumbo and ECW members nominate and discuss projects to be undertaken or supported with the proceeds. The original Gumbo lunches were held to finance air conditioning for the church; more often, now, the proceeds go to outreach projects of the parish, diocese and beyond.
Church Periodical Club
Members of the ECW have been long-time supporters and activists for the Church Periodical Club, an Episcopal institution whose ministry is to supply books, magazines, tapes, videos and computer programs free to those who cannot otherwise obtain them and to raise the money to do this.
It was founded in 1888 by Mary Ann Drake Fargo, wife of a member of the Wells-Fargo Express firm. Mary Ann and her friends in the Church of the Holy Communion, New York, sent their bundles of books and periodicals westward to missionaries and pioneers via stagecoach.
There are two primary granting funds. The National Book Fund grants annually and responds to requests for books and related materials around the world. The Miles of Pennies fund is exclusively used for the book needs of children; grants are made year round.
There are two "CPC Sundays" each year when special offerings toward the CPC are gathered. Half the money gathered remains in the Diocese of Louisiana to assist our seminarians with the cost of their books.
The Miles of Pennies program is geared toward children's education. The Fund was established in 1988 on the 100th anniversary of The Church Periodical Club and awarded its first grants in 1991. The maximum grant given by Miles of Pennies is $844.80 which represents one mile of pennies. The grants serve the needs of children from kindergarten through high school wherever there is a need.
Any organization, church or individual affiliated with the Anglican Communion may apply for a Miles of Pennies grant. For example: Christian Education Classes, Camps, VBS, Libraries, Tutor after school class, Happenings, Jr. DOK, Youth Ministry. The grants are continually awarded. Download grant information and applications here.
United Thank Offering
The United Thank Offering is a ministry of the Episcopal Church. Through the United Thank Offering, men, women, and children nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God. These prayers of thanksgiving start when we recognize and name our many daily blessings. Those who participate in the United Thank Offering have discovered that thankfulness leads to generosity. A short prayer of thanksgiving leads to an offering in the United Thank Offering box. All offerings are used to support grants for ministries at home and overseas as an outreach of the Episcopal Church. Prayers and offerings make it possible for the UTO mission to stretch in unexpected way.
The blue mite boxes distributed remind us to put a few coins in as we give thanks, every day, for our blessings.