The idea of organizing the wives of ministers and deacons was presented in 1956 when Mother Evelyn Lawson had the foresight to recognize the value of uniting the women of God. The Guild had as its primary purpose to instruct young wives in their roles as leaders in their churches, as helpmeets to their husbands in the work of the ministry. They would also benefit from the experience and understandings of seasoned Pastors’ wives and deacons’ wives. The Pastors’ wives that were present were to set up Guilds in their churches.
As with any fledgling organization there were some obstacles, however, with faith, prayer and perseverance the organization has grown. The Guild agreed to support the Education Department and the Foreign Missions Department. Lady Ethel Mae Bonner, the first lady of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, picked up the mantle of leadership and led the Ministers and Deacons’ Wives Guild through reorganization, renewed the commitment to education, and laid the groundwork for the Guild to become a permanent auxiliary. The Ethel Mae Bonner Award is presented each year to the Diocese Guild which has the best program to meet the psychological needs of the ministers’ and deacons’ wives.
The succeeding president, Mother Ethel Lee Steadman, took up the reins of leadership. Wife of Apostle J. P. Steadman, State Mother of Texas, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Guild, she led the Guild in its work to instruct and encourage the ministers’ and deacons’ wives. As a tribute to her years of leadership and hard work an award is presented in the name of Mother Steadman to the person giving dedicated service to the Ministers’ and Deacons’ Wives Guild.
Other awards given annually are the Carrie Lawson Award, in honor of the wife of the founder of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the state with the largest number of registered delegates. The Helen Spencer Award, named in honor of the wife of the late presiding Bishop Hubert Spencer of Ohio, to the state with the largest number of delegates attending the annual Golden Pines Reception. The Dorothy Richardson Award was instituted in honor of the wife of Bishop Thomas Richardson for years of faith service as financial secretary. It is awarded for outstanding service to the Guild.
At the time of this initial writing, Mother Miriam Norwood of Atlanta, Georgia was serving as President. She was elected in 1985 and is the wife of Apostle Matthew Norwood. Under her leadership, the Guild chose a new uniform of navy blue and white and a distinctive lapel pin. A resource booklet based on the workshop outlines “Pressures and Perils of Marriage, Parenting and more was also distributed. Later the Miriam R. Norwood Book Scholarship Award was named in her honor and is given to the Diocese which contributes the most to the Book Scholarship fund.
In 1991, Mother Margaret Jackson was elected President. She is the wife of Bishop Walter Lee Jackson of Charleston, South Carolina. Under her leadership, the Guild continued the Apostolic Review, published the hardback book Chosen women and instituted The President’s Award to be given to the Diocese President who contributes the most to the program of the President. Mother Jackson also decorated the William L. Bonner Retirement Center in Columbia, South Carolina during her term. An award was also named in honor of her husband, The Walter Lee Jackson Award, to be presented to the Guild husband who contributes the greatest support to the work of the Guild.
Mother Carol A. Coleman was elected President in 1997. She is the wife of District Elder James L. Coleman of Petersburg, Virginia. Mother Carol A. Coleman is the wife of District Elder James L. Coleman who pastors the Highway Church in Stony Creek, Virginia and she is the mother of four children.In the service of the Lord, she has served in the following capacities: Recording Secretary for the International MDWG. District ABYPU President, District Missionary Vice President, Diocese Vice President Women’s Council, Diocese Oratorical Contest Chairperson, local Sunday School Superintendent, Local Missionary President, Diocese MDWG President, and Local MDWG President. She is the local church clerk. She has served as Primary Editor and writer for the Oracles of Truth Primary Literature.
She received the Bachelor’s Degree from the Elizabeth City State University and a Master’s Degree from the Virginia State University. She has furthered her education by taking courses at the Virginia Commonwealth University, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia. Under her leadership the Registration Packet Design Contest has been instituted and is given to the person who submits the most effective design for the Registration Packet for the Convocation.
Mother Florence Maye is now the President of MDWG.