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[87]

The Mission Circle

Rev. H. D. Maxwell
This organization was formed in our parish on January 22, 1901. On that day a meeting of ladies was held in the church parlors for the purpose of listening to an address upon the subject of ‘Mission Circles’ by Mrs. Zelia E. Harris, of Worcester, then president of the Woman's Universalist Missionary Society of Massachusetts. After she had presented the claims of the work, Rev. J. F. Albion, of Malden, and Miss Emma F. Foster, president of the Maiden circle, gave interesting descriptions of the purposes and opportunities of societies of this kind. The pastor of the Cross-street Church gave the work his warmest and most enthusiastic approval.

At the conclusion of the speaking an organization was effected, and the following officers were provisionally elected: President, Mrs. Clara P. Haven; vice-president, Mrs. Mary Prescott; secretary, Mrs. Robert Hayes; treasurer, Mrs. Achsa M. Mills. The president and pastor were appointed a committee to draft and report a set of by-laws, and at a later meeting the following by-laws were submitted and adopted:--


By-laws.


Article 1.

This organization shall be known as the Mission Circle of the First Universalist Parish in Somerville. It shall be considered a branch of and auxiliary to the Woman's Missionary Society of Massachusetts.


Article 2.

Purpose.—It shall have for its object the planning and doing of all kinds of missionary work. So far as it has opportunity, it will minister unto all those who are in any [88] way afflicted in body or mind. It shall have charge of the raising of all moneys with which to pay church quotas to conventions, hospitals, homes, charities, etc.

Its members will ever place foremost among their duties the work of church extension. They shall do all they can to bring strangers to our church and services, to interest them in our faith, and in the spirit of the Master to do the best they can to establish real friendship among the members of our parish.

The members shall be well organized for calling, and shall be ready to go to the homes of new-comers and bid them welcome to our fellowship.


Article 3.

Officers.—The officers of this Mission Circle shall consist of a president, vice-president, secretary, and a treasurer, who shall be elected annually, and serve for one year, or until such time as their successors shall be chosen.

The meetings of this circle shall be held the second Tuesday of each month, beginning at 2.30 p. m., the annual meeting to be held on the second Tuesday in January.


Article 4.

Membership.—The circle shall be composed of women (or men), who shall pay into its treasury the sum of ten cents, and the annual dues shall be ten cents. Those desiring to become members of the W. U. M. S. may do so by paying $1.

From the first well-attended and interesting meetings have been held. At several of the meetings valuable papers have been read by the members, and at various times well-known and able speakers from beyond the parish borders have been present and addressed the circle. We recall with pleasure visits from Rev. Charles Conklin, state superintendent of Massachusetts, Rev. [89] Thomas B. Payne, of Scranton, Penn., Miss Olga White, of Alabama, and others. On one or two occasions papers prepared by members of other circles have been heard with pleasure and profit.

Each year the Easter offering is in charge of the Mission Circle. Money to pay parish quotas and for local philanthropic enterprises to the amount of many hundreds of dollars has thus been raised. Every winter several needy families are helped to tide over times when the wage-earner is out of work, and the problem of providing food, clothing, and shelter becomes more than the members of the household can solve.

The social work of calling upon new people and non-churchgoers has been and is a prominent feature of our work. One year over 100 such calls were made, to the advantage of the church.

Our meetings are opened with Scripture reading and prayer, and close with the Lord's prayer. Reports bearing upon the work of the Universalist Church in the United States, Cuba, and Japan are presented every month, and serve a good purpose in keeping the members in touch with the larger endeavors of our church.

We recognize that Christianity is essentially a missionary religion; that those who have the spirit of the Master in their hearts will never rest content until they have done all they can to extend the borders of His dominion. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to comfort the broken-hearted, and to bring souls into closer fellowship with Him who is the life and the light of the world—to these high ends the work of the Mission Circle is dedicated.

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