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Today we celebrate in the Episcopal Church the life and witness of Julia Chester Emery, a native daughter of Massachusetts and one at the vanguard of opening the ministry of the Church to all regardless of their gender.

Born in Dorchester, Mass in 1852, Julia embodied the Missionary zeal of a the Episcopal Church. At the time of her birth, the Episcopal Church was known as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA. Ms. Emery took very seriously both the Domestic and Foreign aspects of Missionary work. At the age of 24, she took over the Chair of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Church and traveled to every domestic Diocese in the Church and to many foreign dioceses as well. In the forty years she was chair of the Auxiliary, the role of women in the life of the church grew and became critical in ways both tangible and spiritual for the life of our church. She represented DFMS at the Pan Anglican Congress (an early meeting of the fledgling Anglican Communion) in 1908 bringing the voice of Women and their concerns and points of view before the entire communion nearly 100 years ago!

Under her leadership the Auxiliary broadened its vision and the vision of the Church with regards to issues of education, social ministry and perhaps most importantly the establishment of the United Thank Offering. For all these and countless other faithful responses to God’s call to be present and push forward the cause of ministry of all to all, I encourage you all to drink from the well of Thanksgiving that so obviously nourished Julia Chester Emery throughout her 40 years of faithful ministry to the Church.


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January 2007

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