Our 50th Anniversary reflection for this month will be on the Women’s Guild. It is one of the older organizations in the history of the church starting back around 1915 when Rev Schaefer helped organize the group as Ladies Aide. During the early years, monthly meetings were held in the members’ homes. After that, monthly meetings were held in the basement at St. John’s.
Fifty years ago the membership numbered around 40. As more and more women began working outside the home and family activities consumed more time, the number has dwindled. The current active membership stands at nine.
Ladies Aide or Women’s Guild has always been a multi-faceted organization. In earlier years, it was the social outing of the month not only for the members but also their children. The members had regular dues, birthday collections, and contributed towards their mission fund. This tradition continues today. For many years one of their mission projects has been support of a child in Haiti through Ventures in People. The Guild also pays for the daily devotional booklets, Upper Room, available to any member of the church. In addition to these missions, the group also supports The Slinger Food Pantry, Lifeline, Albrecht Free Clinic, and The Threshold. The same blue velvet offering bag used in the early 1900’s is still used today to collect their mission money.
The monthly meeting included birthday songs for those having a birthday that month, a devotional time led by one of the members, a program, and concluded with refreshments. A yearly program was set up in January and included speakers, Bible study, outings, and other projects such as table favors for Cedar Lake Home.
The group also is a service organization. Years ago the women would donate food and prepare the meal for funerals. In addition to funeral meals, they served the Brotherhood Banquet and also prepared meals for some weddings. There was a set menu of German potato salad, ham, wieners, bread, pickles, deviled eggs, jello, cake, and kuchen. The Guild members would provide 5 jellos, 5 cakes, and 4 kuchens. As the number of members decreased, the group could no longer provide this service, although they still are willing to assist any family with serving the meal. As part of our anniversary celebration we will be recreating this standard meal on Sunday, February 19th.
Some years the Guild members would stitch or knot a patchwork quilt. For many years, they coordinated the all-church rummage and bake sale. They have also had a summer picnic meeting and host one meeting a year with area congregations as their guests.
During the merger of the two churches, members of the Guild were involved in planning the kitchen, purchasing the set of Melmac dishes, relish trays, servers, and other kitchen essentials. They also served the meal for the dedication celebration.
A long standing tradition with the Guild is to have a secret pal. Each year at their December, Christmas luncheon, members would draw their pal name for the following year. During the course of the year, unsigned cards were sent off to your pal. At the Christmas luncheon, you would bring a gift for your secret pal and reveal your name. Since the membership has dwindled, this year anyone from the congregation could join the card sending secret pal circle with plans being made as to when pals will be revealed.
The Guild continues to provide refreshments for various celebrations but many times needs to ask other members in the congregation to help or bring some bars. The Guild events are announced in the newsletter and everyone is encouraged to attend any or all of their events.