United Church Women
The national organization of the United Church Women was created in 1962 by joining the two church groups of WMS (mission and study) with WA (oriented to service) into one group called The United Church Women. The first organizational meeting of the Riverbend unit was held on February 10th, 1998 with fifteen ladies present. Kay Quon served as Acting Chairperson, Cheryl Caldwell as Vice-Chairperson and Ella Symington as Secretary-Treasurer.
The first fundraising effort undertaken by the group was a “Strawberry Tea” held on June 9th, 1998. This has become an annual event with a reputation for great desserts coupled with a friendly atmosphere.
The first official slate of officers was nominated on October 13, 1998. Sharon McColl became the first President, Jackie Gabert the first vice-president and Ella Symington the first Secretary-Treasurer.
By 1999, the little group was beginning to make an impact. In March of that year a decision was made to cater to funerals held at our church as part of our Ministry. In September a cookbook was produced and sold; in November we hosted the annual Edmonton Presbyterial UCW meeting and organized a coffee and muffin party for seniors to recognize the “Year of the Senior”. The first Fall Craft and Bake Sale was held in October 2000. The success of that endeavor has made it an annual event as well. Since our early beginnings we have catered to many funerals and other functions in the Church.
The United Church Women includes all the women of the Church and Riverbend is no exception. We receive help in the way of food donations for functions, craft and baking for the annual sale, and help in the kitchen as needed. The able assistance of the men in the Church help with tables and their work with the heavy lifting is invaluable. We have dubbed them the “Riverbend UCM”.
We have had many interesting programs. Some of our programming has been done by members of our group; from Avel (the United Church resource centre), from charities that we have supported, and speakers from the community. Each year we engage with our minister in a Lenten reflection and we are presently looking for ways to broaden the study component of our work.
The UCW are a vital and integral part of the Ministry of Riverbend United Church. The women give of their time, treasures, and talents freely and willing for the good of others within the congregation, as well as the broader community. There is a camaraderie amongst the group members that instils a sense of individual pride and self-accomplishment, knowing that these collective efforts have contributed to the well-being of others.
In the few years since its formation, Riverbend UCW has been pleased to be able to help the Church in practical ways. The small group (varying from 10 to 15 women) has purchased many things for the kitchen as well as helping to finance a new furnace, the elevator, renovations to the nursery and numerous other smaller items. We have currently pledged $20,000.00 to United in Faith; $10,000.00 of which has already been given. Each year we support the Mission and Service Fund and Bissell Centre. In addition, we support other work of the National Church and various charities as we are able.
Our women look forward to welcoming new members to the group. If you are interested in contributing to the life and work of our Church through the activities and events of the UCW, please join us at one of our upcoming meetings. We meet from 1:00pm - 3:00pm on the second Tuesday of each month in the Church basement. You can also contact any of the following ladies for further information.