Sunday, March 3
The Lord’s Day
Minute for Mission: Celebrate the Gifts of Women
On Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday, we celebrate faithful women in the church and society. Two of these women trailblazers were Lucy Craft Laney and Mary McLeod Bethune. Laney’s father, David Laney, was born a slave in South Carolina and later became an influential African American Presbyterian pastor.
In 1886 Lucy Laney traveled to Minneapolis to urge the General Assembly (of the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.) to assist her school, then housed in the basement of Christ Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia. But the Board of Missions for Freedmen pledged only moral support. Later, support was received from Francina E. H. Haines, a Presbyterian women’s leader, in whose honor Laney named her school, the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute. The Presbyterian board later provided funding for salaries and maintenance.
Mary McLeod Bethune, another educator, from South Carolina, attended Trinity Mission School, run by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen, and later Scotia Seminary, now Barber-Scotia College. She began teaching in 1896 at Haines Normal Institute. Bethune spent only a year at Laney’s school but was influenced deeply by her and adopted many of her educational philosophies designed to improve the conditions of African Americans by educating primarily women. Bethune opened the Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in Daytona in 1905. The school merged with the Cookman Institute for Men, of Jacksonville, Florida, and became the coeducational Bethune-Cookman School in 1923.
Laney was one of the first Women of Faith awardees of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and Bethune is recognized as a historic educational leader. Though they both lacked funds to educate others, they had an abiding faith that God would provide “a way out of no way.”
Let us pray
Loving God, thank you for your leadership and guidance; you provide us with a way out of no way. For this we are eternally thankful. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Seek Ye First
O Lord, You Are My God
1 Cor. 10:1–13
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
O for a Closer Walk with God
PH 396 and 397, HB 319