Julia Chester Emery, 9 January
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Julia Chester Emery

Julia Emery is a 1994 addition to the Episcopal Calendar.

Her father was a New England sea captain. Two of her brothers became priests. One sister, Helen, cared for another sister who was ill, and made a project of providing hospitality in her New York City home for missionaries on leave.

Another sister, Mary, was National Secretary of the Women's Auxiliary of the Board of Missions for its first four years, from 1872 to 1876. At this point, Julia took over, and was National Secretary of the Auxiliary for forty years, from 1876 to 1916. She visited every Episcopal diocese in the United States, co-ordinating and encouraging work in support of missions.

She traveled to London for as a delegate to the Pan-Anglican Congress (Lambeth) . She traveled to Japan, inland China, Hong Kong, and The Philippines to advance missionary work there, and to be able to report on it to the Episcopal women in the United States.

It was Julia who invented the United Thank Offering (UTO). This works (or used to work— my political instincts tell me that not everyone today would be comfortable with the original arrangement) by giving each woman a small box with a slit in the top (a cardboard piggy bank), and encouraging her to drop a small contribution into it whenever she feels thankful about something. Once a year, the women of the parish present these at the Sunday service, and the money is sent to national headquarters to be used for missions.

written by James Kiefer


O Almighty God, who have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Julia, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last we may with her attain to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.