Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fall Meeting of the Executive Committee

A few of us met today via phone conference. Jenn, Barb, Pat and myself were present.

Here are some highlights from our meeting:

  • All agreed that it was a great idea to meet via phone conference.
  • The Mite Box was briefly discussed. As Mite Box chair, Barb put a notice in the Messenger about Mite Box donations. Ideas for the 2010 Mite Box should go to Barb. Ideas, anyone?
  • An appeal for missing minutes from past years will be in the next Messenger. If anyone has minutes from past years please forward them to Pat Sommer, secretary. She has minutes from Barb Tourangeau but none from any years prior.
  • Having a central location for Alliance documents was discussed.
  • The annual appeal letter will be printed in the Messenger only. We will aim for the February issue.
  • Discussion about next year's annual meeting at Convention. Ideas for a program at the annual meeting were discussed.
  • Website was discussed. Could we have a page on Convention's website or have our own?
We'll meet again via phone conference in February or March.

Thanks again everyone!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Mighty Mite Box

When I was reading the History of the Alliance of New Church Women given to me by Katie Brown, nee Shelley, I learned of the long-standing tradition of the mite box within this organization. I was curious about the history of the mite box in general so I turned to (where else?) Wikipedia, of course! Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the mite box:

"The term mite box (also alms box or poor box) refers to a box that is used to save coins for charitable purposes. Contemporary mite boxes are usually made of cardboard and given out to church congregations during the Lenten season. The mite boxes are collected by the church and donations are given to the poor. Mite boxes are popular with children because they can fill them with small change and it teaches them the principle of giving to the poor. The Mite box giving promotes the spirit of contributing based on the intent to help others and not on the monetary amount.

The term mite, according to the dictionary, is defined as one of the following:

  • 1. a very small contribution or amount of money, such as a widow's mite.
  • 2. a very small object, creature, or particle.
  • 3. a coin of very small value, especially an obsolete British coin worth half a farthing."
So that gave me an idea... what if I used something that I already have in my house as a mite box! I looked around and saw my little "piggy" bank sitting on my dresser. It's full right now but I'll find something to empty it into and start over. How many of you have a coin purse that is bursting with coins that you never use? I'm guilty of that. As of today, I'll start emptying my change purse into Ms. Piggy and when it comes time to make a donation to the Alliance Mite box I'm planning to count my change (and hopefully it'll be a lot!) and write a check. I'll probably round up to the nearest $5. If we all did that we could make a substantial contribution to the Mite box this year. At Convention this summer in Bridgewater, MA we collected over $800 towards the 2009 Mite box! As I've mentioned before, the money we collect this year will go to the newest Swedenborgian Church in New Mexico where Rev. Dr. Sky Paradise is the pastor. Click on the link to find out what's happening in New Mexico. In the October Messenger I read that 17 new members joined the church! That's remarkable!

Stealing a line from one of my favorite blogs, The Librarian's Guide to Etiquette,
Ask the readers: Do you have a Mite box of your own?

Monday, August 25, 2008

WA Report in October Messenger

Julie Viges (L) of Lansing, Michigan with Rev. Jenn Tafel (center), pastor of the newly established Swedenborgian Church in Lansing, Michigan receiving the Mite Box Award for 2008 presented by Mite Box chair Barb Boxwell (R) at the annual meeting of the Alliance at the national convention in Bridgewater, MA.

The 105th annual meeting of the Women's Alliance was held on July 3, 2008 at Bridgewater State College at the annual convention of the Swedenborgian Church.
The following officers were elected for the 2008-2009 year:

President: Nancy Little (MA)
Vice President: Beth Harvie (Mid Atlantic)
Secretary: Pat Sommer (OH)
Treasurer: Jeanette Hille (MN)
Mite Box Chair: Barb Boxwell (MI)
Round Robin Chair: Polly Baxter (OH/MI)
Publications Chair: Rev. Jennifer Tafel (MI)
Religious Chair: Rev. Lana Sandahl
Nominating Chair: Rev. Leah Goodwin (MA) (2012)

Nominating Committee:
Nancy Freestone (2009)
Denyse Daurat (2010)
Missy Sommer (2011)
Leah Goodwin (2012)
Jeannette Hille (2013)

A brief business meeting proceeded the luncheon.
  • Members of the Alliance voted to eliminate the office of 2nd Vice President.
  • As the recipient of the 2008 Mite Box Award , Rev. Jennifer Tafel, pastor of the newly established Lansing, Michigan church, was presented with a check for $1,304.85.
  • It was announced that the 2009 Mite Box will be awarded to the New Church of the Southwest Desert in New Mexico where Rev. Dr. Sky Paradise is the pastor. Over $800 was collected during convention towards the 2009 Mite Box.
  • Polly Baxter, chair of the Round Robin Committee, reported that there were no “flights” this year. Polly suggested that we take advantage of technology and use email in place of round robin letters. The Executive Committee will discuss this more in the coming year. She can be reached at
  • Rev. Renee Machiniak reminded us that she still has plenty of Alliance pins with the Swedenborgian cross for sale. She suggested that they make nice gifts for new members. Rev. Renee can be contacted at
  • A new blog was established If other officers or committee chairs would like to post to the blog, contact the President, Nancy Little at

The 106th annual meeting of the Alliance will be held in 2009 in Seattle, WA.

Additional donations to the Mite Box can be sent to:
Jeanette Hille, Treasurer
4240 Larch Place North
Plymouth, MN 55442

Nancy Little

Monday, July 21, 2008


Katie Shelley, our out-going president, handed me her copy of "A History of the Alliance of New-Church Women" compiled by Ethel Rice in the 1991, along with the binder that she kept for the Alliance. Katie told me the book was a quick read, she read it on an airplane on her way home from Convention one year. I read through it, skimming parts that were repetitive, but for the most part really enjoyed reading it. At one point there were 6 vice-presidents!
I especially enjoyed learning about the creation of the Alliance in 1903-1904. Seeing lots of familiar names was fun too, particularly names that are associated with the Fryeburg New Church Assembly (where I am the registrar), for example: Murdoch, Dole, Woofenden (my in-laws), Sturgis, Mack to name a few.
The Alliance has a long history of raising funds to support church programs and individuals. It was interesting to see how those varied over the years. We're still supporting our camps, although there are fewer now than there were even 20 or 30 years ago. In 1980 the Alliance was contributing to 7 camps, and now we're contributing to 2 camps. This is only because the other 5 (and I have to admit I can't name them all but I'm sure someone out there could) are no longer in existence.
The Mite Box has a long history also. The earliest mention of "collection boxes" was in 1924. I enjoyed learning about the different missions and projects the Mite Box donations has supported over the years. It's very exciting to think that we're supporting new churches! This year the Mite Box went to the newly established Lansing, MI church where Rev. Jenn Tafel is the pastor. In 2009 the Mite Box will go to the New Church of the Southwest Desert where Rev. Dr. Sky Paradise is the pastor. I had an opportunity to talk at length with both Rev. Jenn and Rev. Sky while I was at convention so I got to hear from them how much work is involved in starting up a church. They are both working with little or no money so our donations to the Mite Box are crucial to their efforts.
When Rev. Hunter Roberts is successful in planting a new church in Western Massachusetts, I hope we'll be able to support her efforts also. Isn't is inspiring that all of these churches are being started by women? We've certainly come a long way!
I'd love to see our history book continued. The book ends with 1990. If anyone has access to notes from annual meetings from 1990 onward that would help immensely! We also need a volunteer to compile the history. At sometime in the future, I'd love to see all of this on a web-site! For the time being, I'll be satisfied with this blog. I hope you are too!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Would other members like to post to this blog?

If other members of the Women's Alliance would like to post to this blog please let me know and I can add you to the list of authors.

I think it would be wonderful to hear of the activities of your local alliances, trips to Gathering Leaves in the UK or any other relevant news you might have to share.

Blogging is very easy. Anyone can do it!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Convention 2008

When I walked into the room at Bridgewater State College, where the lovely luncheon of the Women's Alliance was to be held, I was simply looking forward to having a nice meal and getting caught up with some old friends. I chose to sit at a table with Rev. Jenn Tafel (I was once Jenn's babysitter at Convention 1980 at Wellesley College), Missy Sommer (who I know from Almont), Pat Sommer (Missy's mother), Mareta Tafel (Jenn's mother), Rev. Hunter Roberts and a few others.

Shortly after I arrived, Barb Boxwell (who I know from past Conventions and a few summers at Almont), approached me and asked if I would be willing to be president of the Alliance. I asked her if I could think about it for a few minutes and get back to her. I consulted with Rev. Jenn Tafel, who was president a few years back and was assured that I was certainly capable of handling the responsibilities. I knew that when I was planning to attend Convention in Bridgewater, MA after a 14 year hiatus that I wasn't going to be able to leave there without something like being nominated and elected to an office was going to happen. Well, it did! The wonderful women elected me their president.

I am excited about working with a group of wonderful women who care so much about the Alliance and our church.

I've added a link to Rev. Dr. Sky Paradise's website for her church in Silverton, NM. The mite box money that was collected at Convention this year (over $800) will go to her efforts in the Southwest Desert. Mite Box donations will continue to be collected over the course of the year. I hope that we can continue to support the church's mission efforts in the US, Canada and abroad.

Please send me your comments and/or suggestions. I had a great time at Convention '08 and am looking forward to Convention '09 in Seattle!