St. Paul's American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW)
Curtiss, Clark Co., WI
Contributed by Eva Schiszik--From "100 yrs. to the Glory of God", 1985
The Kvinde Foerning (Ladies Aid) had its beginning in 1893 during the time the Rev. T. G. Monson was serving the parish. The first officers were: President, Mrs. John Olson; Secretary, Mrs. Ole Thompson and Treasurer, Mrs. Oluf Moilund of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Not too much is recorded about the early history, but Minnie Thompson in her fortieth anniversary report called the organization "the backbone of the church". It was a strong support upon which the people relied.
Thirty-eight members joined this organization. As early as 1896 they held an outdoor public auction, selling articles of clothing. Records show that these auctions netted up to $123.18 and became social get-togethers. Dues were 101 per member, per month, and with this amount they were able to buy the altar, organ, carpet, pulpit and baptismal font.
It seems these early people were very interested in finances, but the work they accomplished was all great and, I'm sure, rewarding. In the 1920's they were making money in various ways and dues were 20". They held suppers in September, they had a birthday party once a year where each brought a penny equal to her age, they were each to earn a dollar and at one meeting would tell how they had earned it and they gave to a flower fund which seemed to consist of the few pennies they could gather as the amounts recorded were in odd cents as 37 cents, or 26 cents.
Their giving was very remarkable. They gave to Bethany Indian Mission, Homme Horne for the Aged, Homme Home for Boys, Deaconess Horne, Mission Budget, memorials to past members and toward the pastor's salary; in addition they paid Bible School teachers, gave to local people when it was needed and sent flowers to the sick.
The group met every four weeks which gave them thirteen meetings, the last always being the annual meeting. Each meeting was opened with scripture and prayer, led by the pastor. Attendance was very good, with from 25-30 members present.
A Cradle Roll was begun in 1925. About this time the aid became members of the Eau Claire Circuit and sent delegates to its conventions. The organization was known as the Women's Missionary Federation (WMF). They would also entertain this group with the help of Holway and Owen ladies.
Material things were sent to missions and the Homme Homes. One Christmas a case of eggs went to the Indian Mission. In August of 1933 sheets were sent to the Homme Home; the material was purchased and Mrs. Machiett was to bleach and sew the sheets.
In 1934 Mrs. Felix Schiszik was presented with a book for .sending her children to Sunday School more regularly than anyone else".
Program committees were appointed for a three month period. Church related topics were discussed; these included baptism, child development, confirmation, marriage, etc. If a motion wasn't passed, it was 'laid over".
Members of Ladies Aid in 1943
LadiesAid 5Oth Anniversary:
(BackRow) Mrs..A. Thompson,Mrs. H. Kaive, Mrs. F. Schiszik.
(Front Row) Mrs. A. Erickson, Mrs. W. Geary, Mrs. T. Thompson
Ladies Aid 50th Anniversary:
(Back Row) Mrs. C Geary, Mrs. C Peterson, Mrs. M. Moiland, Mrs. W. Geary, Mrs. H. Laabs, Mrs. A. Thompson, A. Rued, Mrs. G. Borreson.
(Kneeling) Mrs. T. Thompson, Mrs. J. Lokken
Ladies Aid 50th Anniversary: Mrs. H. Laabs, Mrs. G. Borreson, Mrs. E. Peterson, A. Rued and Mrs. J. Lokken
The dinners were held in the old village hall. A wood cook stove was there and ladies brought their kerosene stoves. An interesting note was that 251 was spent for kerosene one year. What supplies they had were stored at the Machiett residence, all else needed was brought in from various homes. There was always an apron sale which usually brought more than the dinner did. The amounts for the dinners were around $75.00 and for aprons about $80.00. The dinner menu was chicken, mashed potatoes, meat balls, carrots, coleslaw, lefsa, rolls and cake.
Mrs. Helga Kluve's daughter, Juanita, was a missionary to Africa and throughout the years was a frequent guest speaker. An offering would be taken to aid her in her continued work.
About 1940, Silver Teas were held to raise money, also an individual communion set was purchased and a history book was begun as part of their conference work. Mrs. E. M. Peterson and Mrs. F. Matthias had charge of the history book. About this time the name was to changed to "Evangelical Lutheran Ladies Aid'. As young women were married they automatically became a part of the group.
By 1942 we became involved with the Red Cross and began to sew or knit for men in service under the leadership of Mrs. Grant Herrick. Also the decision was made not to have a fall dinner, rather each member would donate $3.00. Mrs. Borreson started a Junior Choir. Gifts were sent to servicemen and we were all urged to send cards, especially during the holidays.
The 50th anniversary of our Ladies Aid occurred in 1943. To celebrate, we showed the progress the group had made by put- ting on three one-act plays written by Mrs. Theodore Thompson and Mrs. E. M. Peterson. They and a few others were able to supply us with clothes to fit the occasion. The Rev. and Mrs. William Anderson of Prairie Farm were guests.
The addition of a parish hall in 1945 gave us more to work for, and then a library was begun with aid and individual members donating and buying books; book reviews were then given. The first librarians were Mrs. Arthur Laabs and Mrs. Arthur Thompson. Members past the age of seventy were given gifts on their birthdays. Life memberships of $20.00 were presented to persons who had given much for their church.
As the parish hall was completed and the kitchen and entrance built, the ladies served lunch to the working men. This had also been done in the past when men donated work; our men have always been well fed.
The summer of 1949 will long be remembered by many. We were asked to serve the noon meal for the REA annual meeting in Greenwood. How the ladies worked making potato salad the day before! We planned to serve 800 people. Where were we going to keep all of this refrigerated? Finally it was put into the coolers at Laabs' cheese factory, packed in large crocks which people had donated.
This was also the year the Odlands accepted our call and the parsonage was moved to its present location. As usual the ladies provided paper, paint, mops, window cleaner and elbow grease to put our house in order. After the family moved in we held an open house so members of St. Paul's and Our Savior's could view their accomplishments. Gifts were brought for the Odland family and refreshments were served in the parish hall. Our Constitution was revised, discussed and approved during this time also, and the Lutheran World Clothing Drive became a part of our mission work. Mrs. Odland organized a sewing club of sixteen members to repair clothes for the drive and to make layettes; old shirts were used-for bandages. In May 1952 we had a little different request for church cleaning - we were asked to bring cleaning materials which were to include a man and a ladder!
It was our good fortune to have the ladies of the Evangelical and Reformed Church join us. They brought with them many dedicated people. The money in their treasury was used to remodel the parish hall.
The WMF suggested a 9 am prayer hour, all ladies were to hold their individual hour in their homes. The Rev. and Mrs. Russell Sanoden were missionaries to Japan and our circuit supported them. It was interesting to have their letters read in response to letters we had sent to them. In January of 1959 we were overjoyed to have them as guest speakers for a Family Night.
1954 brought the Wilhelms. Also that year we decided we would serve four Fellowship dinners a year instead of the annual fall dinner. An excellent program, either a film or a guest speaker, was always presented.
Other changes were that we would no longer have dues, but rather, worship offerings and instead of sending gifts to our mission groups and charities we now send money. The ladies began giving the Bible lessons.
In 1964 the people from St. Paul's Lutheran (German) Church joined us. We are always blessed when new people come into our midst.
Because of the trend towards working women, we began to hold evening meetings at the parish hall with two members serving. The December meeting was a Christmas program and a pot luck lunch. This practice continued until circle meetings took their place in October of 1965. We now have an afternoon and an evening group, with four general meetings, a suggestion made by the Rev. Roger Tellock. Since 1967 yearbooks have been printed and at that time it was voted to pay 611 a mile to people driving to conventions. Our Junior Choir was again active under the direction of Mrs. Wilhelm and Mrs. Ralph Peterson.
We served dinner for the 75th anniversary of our church in 1960; the prices were $1.25 for adults and 5011 for children under 12. Dinner was served at the Curtiss Centennial in 1982; this time we charged $3.50 and $2.50.
Several ladies were officers of the Eau Claire Circuit; Mrs. William Anderson and Mrs. Arthur Laabs served as president and Mrs. Gilbert Borreson and Mrs. Ralph Peterson served as Secretary.
In October of 1960 we adopted SCOPE as the Bible study guide of our organization, the American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW). In 1961 we sent one-half of our worship offerings to missions. This year also, we gave each Luther Leaguer $2.00 toward their convention in Miami and later, one in Detroit.
In recent years we have honored our college and high school graduates and Sunday School teachers and their families at a Baccalaureate breakfast in the spring. from the beginning we ladies have aided in the repair and upkeep of our church, parish hall and parsonage. Also we have helped to pay the pastors' salaries, mission obligations, fuel and whatever was necessary to help our community, our conference and missions at home and abroad.
We are now a part of the Marshfield Conference of the Northern Wisconsin District, with National Headquarters at Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have a local membership of about 65. Our present officers are: President, Mary Carlson; Vice- president, Linda Hill; Secretary, Helen Strassburger; Treasurer, Cynthia Geary; Secretary of Education, Mary Nelson and, Secretary of Stewardship, Mildred Hamm. I can think of no more fitting way to end this report than to emulate Mrs. E. M. Peterson, who, in her summary of 1956, wrote: "God has no other hands than ours, No other eyes to see; The work that must be done for Him Should be done by you and me."
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