Julia Chester Emery
September 24, 1852 – January 9, 1922
Feast Day: January 9
Julia Chester Emery founded the United Thank Offering while serving as the National Secretary for the Women's Auxiliary Board of Missions for four decades. She contributed vastly to expanding the work of the Church across the world and propelling women's role in the Church.
Biography from Lesser Feasts and Fasts
Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 included a biography of JCE. The full edition can be found here.
Julia Chester Emery was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on September 24th, 1852. In 1876 she succeeded her sister, Mary, as
Secretary of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Board of Missions, which had been established by the General Convention in 1871.
During the forty years that she served as Secretary, Julia helped the church to recognize its call to proclaim the gospel both at home and
overseas. Her faith, her courage, her spirit of adventure, and her ability to inspire others combined to make her a leader respected
and valued by the whole church.
She visited every diocese and missionary district within the United States, encouraging and expanding the work of the Woman’s
Auxiliary, and in 1908 she served as a delegate to the Pan-Anglican Congress in London. From there she traveled around the world,
visiting missions in remote areas of China, in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Hawaii, and then all the dioceses on the Pacific Coast
before returning to New York. In spite of the fact that travel was not easy, she wrote that she went forth “with hope for enlargement of vision, opening up new occasions for service, acceptance of new tasks.”
Through her leadership a network of branches of the Woman’s Auxiliary was established which shared a vision of and a commitment to the church’s mission. An emphasis on educational programs, a growing recognition of social issues, development of leadership among women, and the creation of the United Thank Offering are a further part of the legacy Julia left to the church when
she retired in 1916.
In 1921, the year before she died, on January 9th, 1922, the following appeared in the Spirit of Missions: “In all these enterprises of the
church, no single agency has done so much in the last half-century to further the church’s mission as the Woman’s Auxiliary.” Much of that
accomplishment was due to the creative spirit of its Secretary for forty of those fifty years, Julia Chester Emery.