Julia Chester Emery
September 24, 1852 – January 9, 1922
Feast Day: January 9
Julia Chester Emery
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.
Icon No. 1
The first ever icon of JCE was written by Marcy Hall Art. In this icon, Julia is depicted in Anvik, Alaska, the location of the first UTO grant site, with a Blue Box in hand. It also includes details from Julia’s time spent as Secretary of the Woman’s Auxiliary, including a depiction of the Pan-Anglican Conference and deaconess trainings.
Icon No. 2
Kristen Wheeler (Ministry of Saints) wrote this icon of Julia Chester Emery, which depicts her passion and independence. JCE traveled the globe alone twice and was a fearless leader for women’s rights within the church through deaconess trainings. Here, Julia is depicted with her suitcase, UTO Blue Box, shield of The Episcopal Church, and a quill.
Icon No. 3
The Rev. Dr. Chris Corbin, artist and rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Oshkosh, WI, has depicted Julia Chester Emery in his classic, simple cartoon style. This icon emphasizes Julia’s humility and approachability, as a leader for all people of all ages.
Icon No. 4
The invitation by the UTO leadership to write an icon of Julia Chester Emery delighted Paige Blair-Hubert, and she spent several months meditating on photographs and paintings of Julia, and reading first-hand accounts of Julia’s ministry before beginning the work of designing the template for this icon. Because traditionally, all icons are written from life, she discerned that two photographs of Julia would be the foundation of the design, one photograph of Julia as a young woman, just beginning her ministry with the Women’s Auxiliary, and another later in life.
You can order an icon by donating $30 to the UTO Ingathering or MTF online – please include “icon” in the notes.
Celebrate JCE in Your Parish, Diocese, or Home!
The celebration of Julia Chester Emery shouldn’t begin or end on her Feast Day! Julia was an incredible force within The Episcopal Church and brought about important, compassionate change. Her legacy stays with us in many ways today, and we encourage you in honor and celebrate her life in your parish, diocese, and home!
We created an engaging and fun set of JCE/UTO trivia questions! We held a trivia party on Zoom, but you could easily make this a fun, in-person trivia game.
Download this printable prayer card to pass out to your small group, parish, or diocese! You can even hang it up in your home or office.
Service of Praise and Thanksgiving for the life and example of JCE. Use this powerpoint to share about JCE on her feast day.
JCE Evening Prayer
Use this Evening Prayer, created with the BCP and the UTO Liturgy book, to honor Julia Chester Emery with your church or small group.
Julia Chester Emery Prayer
Written by Kristen Wheeler
Help us learn the spiritual gift of packing light; filling our physical and proverbial suitcases with lightheartedness and joy and not overstuffing them with things we don’t need for the journey, like resentment, anger, and frustration at the world.
Please recall us to Julia’s mission and inspiration so we can effectively turn the church towards a better and brighter future; for it is easy to get lost in the politics and structure of our church and reconciliation and justice are in the hands of our generation and the generations to come
Remind us of those less fortunate than ourselves and inspire us to serve in a way that makes those hardships less of a burden on their souls. For no matter what we have in the bank, or what we carry in our hearts, there is always something left to give of ourselves to better one another.
The women of the church have a special place in your heart dear God; you demonstrated this exceptional love with Mary Magdalene and all your other women witnesses in the world, including Julia. Help our women continue to get into good trouble for the sake of your name, fighting for the marginalized and oppressed, and being an example of Christ’s love in the face of fear, loneliness, and scarcity.
Keep us humble and grace-filled, you, our Creator, our mentor, our support, and our voice of reason. For you are not a distant being, unreachable in the faraway sky, you are right here with us. You are the solemn tears of Mary Magdalene, the aged hands of Julia Chester Emery, the bleeding hearts of justice warriors; you are the ship and its captain, the train and its conductor, the suitcase and its contents, the little blue box and the penny. You are our whole world and everything existing within it.