Any woman “willing to contribute her prayers, gifts, and services for the work of the Church” may join the United Church Women (UCW). Along with providing important networking and social bonding opportunities, the UCW has led discussions on, for example, feminism and restorative justice. Indeed, says Moderator Jordan Cantwell, United Church Women are the “hands and feet” of the church.
A Brief History
In 1962 the UCW (United Church Women) was created as the successor to the Woman’s Missionary Society (WMS), a world mission-oriented service and study group that supported almost 100 active missionaries around the world. The Woman’s Association (WA) at that time focused on work in the local church and community. Guilds and Ladies’ Aids were the WA’s forerunners; in the early years, these units went unrecorded, just doing what needed to be done, spiritually, financially, and socially.
Today, that spirit of generosity continues in active UCWs in congregations, presbyteries, and Conferences from coast to coast to coast, united in expressing their devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian witness, study, fellowship, and service.
In July 2017, we celebrated our 55th anniversary at Celebrating Spirit in Vancouver, hosted by the BC Conference UCW. The theme song from that event, "This Is a Winding, Beautiful Road" by Linnea Good, is available under Downloads, below.
Read more about the history of the UCW in the UCW Guidelines, available under Downloads, below.
Women for Change, Zambia: Bursary Program for Women and Girls
Access to education for everyone, regardless of income, is an essential part of securing greater justice, broad-based participation in society, and the eradication of poverty. Many children, particularly girls, face significant barriers to education. Women for Change, a Mission & Service partner in Zambia, is working to keep girls in Zambia in school.
For the next two years, United Church Women across Canada will support Women for Change as they work to reduce dropout rates for girls. Learn more about the project under Downloads, below, and in this blog post.
- Learn about the UCW's previous project, the Bread Not Stones child well-being initiative.
Grants and Bursaries
Agatha Kaasa Bursary Fund
- Eligibility: any woman who is part of the United Church and not in paid accountable ministry
- Supports leadership training and education, continuing education, and projects or events that promote education, mission, outreach, spiritual nurture, and ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, locally or abroad.
- Up to one third of the total expenses related to a request can be received, with a maximum bursary of $1,500.
- Application deadlines: April 15 (for June 15 decision); October 15 (for December 15 decision)
- Application form under Downloads, below.
Dorothy Amos Fund
- Eligibility: any woman who is a UCW member
- Supports greater connection of members of the UCW with church women in Canada and around the world. These connections may be fostered by visits, exchanges, or support of UCW members attending special events.
- Application deadline: July 2
- Application form under Downloads, below.
In recognition of a UCW member’s service, a UCW group may choose to present them with a Life Membership, which is registered with the national office and confirmed through the presentation of a Life Membership Pin and Certificate.
Full details on this honour are found in the UCW Guidelines; this handbook and the Life Membership Application Form are available under Downloads, below.
Keeping in Touch Newsletter
The UCW’s Keeping in Touch newsletter is distributed three times a year through the church’s Infopac mailing and to individual subscribers. Back issues can be read in the United Church Commons document library; to get on the mailing list, contact the National UCW (see below).
Conference UCWs and Related Organizations
- Alberta & Northwest Conference UCW
- Bay of Quinte Conference UCW
- British Columbia Conference UCW
- Hamilton Conference UCW
- London Conference UCW
- Maritime Conference UCW
- Montreal and Ottawa Conference UCW
- Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC)
To get in touch with the National UCW, contact
bandw [at] nf.sympatico.ca
gardnerkort [at] gmail.com
cdallas [at] ripnet.com