Women's Synodical Society (RPCES)

Record Group # 56

Box# 493

Content Summary: Official records of the Women's Synodical organization of the Bible Presbyterian Church, as organized in 1949 and carried over into the RPCES denomination in 1965; Constitutions and bylaws; Minutes; Reports; Correspondence

Span Dates: 1949 - 1974

Size: 0.5 cu. ft.

Access Restrictions: None

Collection Citation: Women's Synodical Society (RPCES), Records, Box 493, Folder __: item description, PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, MO.

Organizational Sketch:
Two Decades of Synodical - A Brief History, by Mary R. Edwards
(Slightly condensed by Marie C. Wallis)
At the 1948 Meeting of the Bible Presbyterian Church in General Synod session at Nashville, a committee of Commissioners was appointed to study the possibilities of organizing a Women's Synodical Society. No action was taken during that year. At the General Synod meeting in Baltimore in June, 1949, an enlarged committee met with some interested women on the Saturday of that Synod. As a result of the interest shown then, Dr. R.G. Rayburn was appointed as Chairman of a committee to consider such an organization. Mr. Calvin Harrah and Mr. C.J.T. Straub, with Mrs. Clyde Kennedy, Mrs. Charles Richter, and Miss Mary R. Edwards completed the committee to work out organizational possibilities. The work of the committee began with correspondence. Suggested constitutions were sent in from various churches across the country. In the fall of 1949 a committee meeting was held in St. Louis at the First Bible Presbyterian Church with the three committeemen and Miss Edwards present (the other women could not come, from the West Coast and the East; but were given full reports.

First Annual Meeting - June 1950

At the General Synod in June 1950 held in St. Louis, Dr. Rayburn met with all interested women; there were about 50 in attendance. Miss Edwards was appointed by Dr. Rayburn to act as secretary since she had so acted for the Synod-appointed committee. In the course of approximately three hours, a suggested constitution which had been sent out previously to each of the churches of the denomination, was discussed fully, article by article, and section by section, under the very able direction of Dr. Rayburn. Each article and each section of both Constitution and By-laws was discussed, explained and voted on. Finally a complete constitution took shape and was accepted in its entirety by vote of these women. Through all this Dr. Rayburn was very careful to emphasize again and again that Synod was neither forcing or asking the women to organize. Some requests had been made for a women's organization, and so this committee had been activated. The women at this meeting voted overwhelmingly to have an organization and to use the constitution just formulated. So after lunch that day the first annual meeting of the Women's Synodical Society was held. Officers were nominated and elected, and a program of music, devotions and missionary challenge was held.
Constitutional Changes
The next two meetings were held at the time of General Synod on the East Coast and on the West, in New York City at Shelton College in June of 1951, and in Pasadena at Highland College in July of 1952. During these two years we grew, and learned that in spite of the hard work of the original committee of Synod, the first accepted constitution needed some alteration.
On June 8, 1953, at Faith Seminary in Elkins Park, the revised constitution was presented to the Fourth Annual Synodical Meeting in printed form, following the orders of the meeting the year before in California. But at the 1954 meeting, held June 5 in Greenville, South Carolina, Synod ordered the Membership Article in the Constitution be changed, so that membership in the Women's Synodical Society is not automatic with membership in a Synod church. So at the annual meeting in St. Louis, June 4, 1955, a revised and updated constitution was presented in printed form, not only showing the revision required by Synod action, but also showing the change in name to Evangelical Presbyterian Church. This is the constitution we are presently using though our name has changed since. (The theme of this meeting was "Possessing the land." The program cover had a picture of what was then the future arch, but which is now an actuality. The scheduled address of the afternoon was not given, as most of the ladies preferred to attend the meeting of the General Synod.)
Evangelical Presbyterian Church

When the Synod met in St. Louis in April, 1956, a meeting of the Synodical was called by the president, Mrs. Stanley Allen, via telegram. However, there was not a quorum, so no business could be done. But at the suggestion of Dr. Buswell, a minute was recorded that at the next meeting of General Synod the Women's Synodical Society would also meet. This meeting was held that fall in the hotel in Columbus where the Synod was in session. A bare quorum conducted only such business as was sufficient to make it a legal meeting.
On June 10, 1957, the Society met in the Faith Bible Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. The program was "Go Forward." This was the first full meeting of Synodical since the division in the church. At this meeting Miss Mary R. Edwards, the first recording secretary, was elected president. (This was the first meeting she had missed since the founding of the Society!) On June 23, 1958, the Society convened in Lakeland, Florida. This summer-time meeting perhaps was the reason for a very good attendance. In June, 1959, the gavel was turned over to Mrs. John W. Buswell as ladies met with Synod at the Quarryville Presbyterian Home and conference place.
In July, 1960, the Synodical along with Synod went south to the church in Gainesville, Texas; then across the country in July of 1961 all the way out to Tacoma, Washington, for a vacation Synod. There was a good representation at this meeting. Back to the Midwest, and the meeting at Covenant College and Seminary, with the Synodical lunching at the Salem House where a model of the new building for Covenant College on Lookout Mountain was on display. In 1963 in August to Harvey Cedars; in April 1964 to St. Louis again where the Synodical meeting and lunch were held in the Pent House of the Famous-Barr in Clayton.

Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod
The April 1965 Synod at Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, was the historical occasion when the merger of our Evangelical Presbyterian Church with the older Reformed Presbyterian Church too place. Synod was very important, so the Synodical adjourned the business meeting to August 7, 1965, at Harvey Cedars, New Jersey, during Presbyterian Family Week. In May of 1966 Synodical met with Synod at Colorado Springs, almost in the shadow of the Garden of the Gods at Glen Eyrie. Unfortunately only one officer was able to be at the meeting, so that business was a little lacking, but excellent talks and a workshop or two were held. Back to Lookout Mountain and Covenant College in May of 1967, and Wilmington, Delaware in May of 1968. The last meeting at Covenant College on Lookout Mountain in May of 1969 marked the twentieth annual meeting of Synodical.

Finding Aid is normally located in folder number 1 of each box.




Appeal Letter, 1961, from LaVerne Rayburn, on behalf of Christian Education programs



Constitution, proposed revision of the Women's Synodical Society of the BPC, undated, 3p.



Constitution, proposed, 1949, with cover letter by Robert G. Rayburn and attached questionnaire, 4p.



Covenant College, undated, Summer Directory, 3p.



History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, 1973, by Marie C. Wallis [script for sound-35mm slide program]; Bibliography; List of Audio-visual resources; Bibliography on Scottish Covenanters prepared by Elizabeth Clark (Mrs. Wyatt) George; 20p.



Korea: Land of Sorrow and Blessing, Foreign Missions Study Number Eight, 4p.; World Presbyterian Missions, 1958, Minutes of May 23, 2p.



Miscellaneous materials on Missions, including Report on Home Missions, 1957; Devotional Material for the Missions-Minded Christian, 11p.; Footsteps of Progress--Twenty Years with the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions: 1934-1954, 9p.; statistics brochures on National Missions giving; Photo of Harvey Cedars Hotel [postcard]; Outlook brochure with inserts on BPC agencies and missions



Missionary Birthday Book, [calendar, undated]



Synodical Meeting, 1950, (1st), Minutes, two copies, typewritten, 2p. 493 23

Synodical Meeting, 1950, (1st), Program for June 5th meeting and Minutes of the Synod Committee on Women's Organization, including list of first officers of Women's Synodical, 3p.



Synodical Meeting, 1951, (2nd), Program for June 3-4 meeting, Minutes, Constitution and Bylaws, 6p.; photograph of Synodical officers



Synodical Meeting, 1952, (3rd), Program for August 22nd meeting, newspaper clipping, photo of gathered Synod and Synodical commissioners



Synodical Meeting, 1953, (4th), Program for June 8th meeting; Minutes; newspaper clippings; Report of Outlook Committee; Ten Devotional Topics on Faith; photograph of Synodical officers



Synodical Meeting, 1954, (5th), Program for June 5th meeting, Committee reports, At the Bar of Justice, or, Mrs. National Council vs. Mrs. Bible Presbyterian Synodical; newspaper clipping with photos; Outlook brochure; Footsteps of Progress pamphlet, 48p.



Synodical Meeting, 1955, (6th), Program for June 4th meeting and Committee reports, 48p.



Synodical Meeting, 1956, (7th), Report on meeting of November 28-30 [adjourned without quorum]; letter announcing meeting in Columbus, Ohio



Synodical Meeting, 1957, (8th), Program for June 10th meeting



Synodical Meeting, 1958, (9th), Program for June 23rd meeting and Committee reports, 36p.; postcard with photo of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Lakeland, FL, site of the 1958 meeting



Synodical Meeting, 1959, (10th), Program for June 6th meeting and Committee reports, 41 p.



Synodical Meeting, 1963, Report of National Presbyterian Missions Committee, NPM brochure, and Treasurer's Report



Synodical Meeting, 1966, Program for May 6th meeting; Contacts newsletter, vol. 3, no. 4, May 1966; Committee reports, 14p.



Synodical Meeting, 1968, Program for May 16th meeting [RPCES]



Synodical Meeting, 1974, Program for May 25th meeting and Committee reports; Constitution [Revised, July 1970]; Pioneer Girls brochure 493 22
Synodical Meeting, 1951, (2nd), Minutes of June 4th; Registration list of commissioners; Treasurer's report; 9p. 493 23
Synodical Meeting, 1952, (3rd), Minutes of August 22nd; 4p. 493 24
Synodical Meeting, 1953, (4th), Minutes of June 8th; 4p. 493 25
Synodical Meeting, 1954, (5th), Minutes of June 5th; 4p. 493 26
Synodical Meeting, 1955, (6th), Minutes of June 4th; List of Synodical officers for 1955-1956; Constitution as Revised in June, 1955, 4p. 493 27
Synodical Meeting, 1956, (7th), Minutes of April 7th, held concurrent with the 19th General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church; Report of November 28-30 meeting 493 28
Synodical Meeting, 1957, (8th), Minutes of June 10th; 4p. 493 29
Synodical Meeting, 1958, (9th), Minutes of June 23rd; Letter from William A. Mahlow on the value of the Women's Synodical organization, 3p. 493 30
Synodical Meeting, 1959, (10th), Minutes of June 6th, Treasurer's report, 3p. 493 31
Synodical Meeting, 1960, (11th), Minutes of June 25th; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of September 8, 1960; Letter of September 9, 1960 by Mrs. John W. Buswell; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of April 17, 1961; 8p. 493 32
Synodical Meeting, 1961, (12th), Minutes of June 24th; 3p. 493 33
Synodical Meeting, 1962, (13th), Minutes of June 18th; 3p. 493 34
Synodical Meeting, 1963, (14th), Minutes of July 18th, Treasurer's report; Letter from Dorothy R. Horner re times and locations of future meetings; 4p. 493 35
Synodical Meeting, 1964, (15th), Minutes of April 4th; resolutions; 5p. 493 36
Synodical Meeting, 1965, (16th), Minutes of August 7th; Minutes of Combined Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Women's Synodical Society and the Executive Committee of the Women's Society of the Philadelphia Presbyterial, held on May 13th; 5p. 493 37
Synodical Meeting, 1966, (17th), Minutes of May 6th; Treasurer's report; 3p. 493 38
Synodical Meeting, 1967, (18th), Minutes of May 17th; Treasurer's report; 3p. 493 39
Synodical Meeting, 1968, (19th), Minutes of May 16th; Report of Fellowship Committee; 4p. 493 40
Synodical Meeting, 1969, (20th), Minutes of May 22nd; List of Officers; Correspondence; Minutes of Executive Committeee Meeting of May 23rd; Delegates Registration List; Treasurer's report; 19p. 493 41
Synodical Meeting, 1970, (21st), Minutes of July 25th; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of July 27th; List of Delegates; Correspondence; Bulletin Supplement articles; 26p. 493 42
Synodical Meeting, 1971, (22nd), Minutes of May 18th; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of May 18th; Prayer Requests; List of Officers, Correspondence; 18p. 493 43
Synodical Meeting, 1972, (23rd), Minutes of May 13th; Supplement Docket and Reports; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of May 13th and 18th; Transcript of Jesus Christ Superstar; Correspondence; 37p. 493 44
Synodical Meeting, 1973, (24th), Minutes of May 19th; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of Januar 9th; Dockets; Reports; Correspondence; 39p. 493 45
Synodical Meeting, 1974, (25th), Minutes of May 25th; Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of May 27th; List of Synodical Officers; Correspondence; 7p. 493 46