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Leadership Connections

Annie Armstrong

Annie Walker Armstrong was the first corresponding secretary of Woman’s Missionary Union. Born on July 11, 1850, in Baltimore, Maryland, to a prominent family active in Baptist life, Annie accompanied her mother to the missionary meetings of Woman’s Mission to Woman where she learned the importance of giving and praying for missions. Having a heart for home missions, Annie worked with Indians, immigrants, Blacks, and children. In 1882, Annie helped organize the Woman’s Baptist Home Mission Society of Maryland. She was this society’s first president.

Missions work among women’s groups had grown as an endeavor in other states as well. In conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention of 1888, women from 12 states met on May 14 in Richmond, Virginia and formed the Executive Committee of Woman’s Mission Societies, Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. Annie Armstrong was elected corresponding secretary, a position equivalent to executive director today. In 1890 the name Woman’s Missionary Union was adopted. Annie Armstrong served as corresponding secretary until 1906 and always refused a salary for the work she did through WMU to further the gospel. In 1934 the offering that was collected annually for the Home Mission Board was renamed the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for Home Missions. Annie Armstrong died on December 20, 1938, the year of WMU’s 50th anniversary.

WMU events that occurred during the tenure of Annie Armstrong:

    1) WMU recommended that churches adopt a graded system of missionary education     with organizations for all age levels, beginning with Baby Bands. (1899)
    2) WMU began the process of legal incorporation. (1906)
    3) WMU began publishing literature for sale. (1906)
    4) The organization became officially named Woman's Missionary Union, Auxiliary to     Southern Baptist Convention. (1890)
    5) WMU adopted Sunbeam work at the request of the Foreign Mission Board. (1896)
    6) The motto "Go Forward" was chosen. (1888)

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