- Corporate body
The following background information is adapted from the Anglican Church of Canada Archives website at https://www.anglican.ca/archives/holdings/fonds/womans-auxiliary-fonds/
The constitution for the Anglican Church Women outlines its mission as follows: "Anglican Church Women of Canada is a loosely knit fellowship of all women of the Anglican Church of Canada and others who agree with and support the purpose of the Anglican Church Women of Canada. The purpose is to give the women of the Anglican Church the opportunity to unite in a fellowship of worship, study and service which will lead them into Christian service in the parish, community, diocese, nation, and world."
The Woman’s Auxiliary was founded in April 1885 “for the promotion of missionary effort”. The first president was Margaret Medley, wife of the Bishop of Fredericton and Archbishop of the Province of Canada. Roberta E. Tilton of Ottawa was the major force in organizing both diocesan and parochial branches and in promoting the affiliation of existing groups and societies.
The “Letter Leaflet” was a monthly publication first produced in the Diocese of Toronto. It expanded and became the W.A.’s official publication and in 1923 it was renamed “The Living Message”.
The W.A. was reorganized in 1908 following the founding of the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada (MSCC) to conform to the structure of General Synod. Caroline M. Patterson Hall was elected president and the first meeting of the General Board was held in Winnipeg.
Initially the work of the W.A. included mission education among Girls; Juniors and Little Helpers (Babies) branches; support of women working as missionaries and assistants in Japan (later China and India) and on Indian Reserves; Dorcas work and financial support for the education of missionaries children. A pension fund for women missionaries was established in 1910. In 1912 after several years of discussion the W.A. agreed to assume responsibility for work with women and children overseas. This included additional budgeted expenditures for evangelism, schools and hospitals. This agreement was extended to the Canadian mission field in 1919.
In 1928 the general meeting became annual. Recognizing an expanded social service role in 1931 the W.A. added a clause to its Constitution governing its cooperation with the General Board of Religious Education (GBRE) and the Council for Social Service (CSS).
In 1966 the constitution was amended and the Woman’s Auxiliary became the Anglican Church Women (ACW). Integration with General Synod was agreed as a national goal and took place in 1973. Since that time the organization exists by choice at the diocesan and parish levels.
According to E. M. Malone and Major T. E. Mcnutt, The Church in the Island Province (1932), p. 118, the first branch of the Women's Auxiliary in the Maritimes was established in 1897 at St. Peter's Cathedral.
As noted in the Anglican Church Women archives, the Prince Edward Island branch of the Anglican Church Women was dissolved in June 2017. Since then St. Peter's Cathedral has maintained the Binney Group and Inglis Group as active women's groups within the church.