The E. Louise Brown
    Women’s Missionary Society (WMS)
Expanding, Elevating and Empowering!

History of the “E. Louise Brown” Missionary Society 

The Bethel Church Cave Spring missionaries held their first meeting in 1907 under the pastorate of Rev. A.I. Williams. Mrs. Synthia Williams, his wife, served as President.
Other ministers’ wives also led the church through their missionary works including Sister Mays and Mrs. Sarah Harris.
Historians note that Mrs. Annie Baker was quite an inspiration to the church.  Mrs. Baker worked diligently with the children by teaching them songs of the church, directing beautiful plays and stressing Children’s Day as a spiritual day. 
Sister Eva Foster, a very kind and sweet person, brought new life to the “Society” in missions.  Monthly meetings were held in the homes. This became a long-standing tradition of the Women’s Missionary Society—that various members would host the meetings in their home, serve elaborate dinners to discuss matters of concern to the missionaries.  Men were also members.
In 1935-36, Sister E. Louise Brown, the wife of Rev. Carl Brown kept the work alive.  It was at this point that the practice of submitting annual reports to the state began.  In 1937, Sister F. R. A. Word was elected President.  Sister W. M. Albritten, quiet and helpful, kept the work moving.  In 1949, Sister Julius Lee reorganized our Society; she served 5 years.
Mother Florence Beane was elected President following Sister Lee.  Sister Estelle Gravely served as 1 Vice President.  The Society grew by leaps and bounds.  The work of the Society centered on prayer and sending cards, flowers, fruits to the sick, shut-in, the lonely and bereaved.  Baby showers were hosted for new mothers in the church. Twenty or more Christmas baskets were distributed to the needy each year.  The baskets were not only distributed within the church but in the community and surrounding areas.  A zealous missionary spirit was apparent.   The women of Bethe African Methodist Episcopal Church felt the Missionary fire burning.
Sister Virginia Raines was given the task of leading the Bethel Missionaries after becoming the Bride of Rev. S.A. Raines.  She too, worked diligently carrying on the work with seniors and juniors.
The Y.P.D. Society was organized during her leadership. Sister Eleanor Rose was elected Youth Director from 1958 to 1985.  Many youth programs were held on all special days.
Sister Elizabeth Simmons served as President of the Missionary Society for over 15 years carrying the missionary touch with much love, enthusiasm and determination.  The Missionary Society grew in spirit and number.  At the time the society membership was noted as approximately twenty-two members.  During this period, Bethel missionaries began to conduct a variety of community-based projects such as (1) visiting Catawba Hospital (each June) and hosting patient birthday parties where our members provided gifts; (2) participation in Church Women United; (3) participation in World Federation of Methodist Women; (4) observance of the World Day of Prayer and (5) involvement in  World Community Day.  During this time, our Missionary Society also took great pride in its affiliation with Roxie L Arnold Area and member societies representing other A.M.E. churches throughout the region. 
Bethel women who have served as Missionary Society Presidents immediately following Mrs. Simmons included Sisters Sarah Pennix and Andrea Williams. 
Sister Pamela Small White became President when her husband Rev. Quentin White became our Pastor.  Pamela came to us full of zeal, enthusiasm and vigor.  She brought us new ideas.  Mrs. White, a career educator was very concerned about the sick, shut-in and needy.  She made it her mission to attend all Missionary activities. One special project was serving Thanksgiving Dinner for the Gray family, both of whom were confined to in wheel chairs.
The Society was given the name E. Louise Brown, in recognition of the committed service of Sister E. Louise Brown, a life member of the Missionary Society and a passionate mission-minded woman, who as a minister and Presiding Elder’s wife became well known throughout the state and district for her missionary work.      
Following Sister Pamela White , Sister  Gertrude Harris became our President.  During Mrs. Harris’ term as President, the E. Louise Women’s Missionary Society continued to become active in the Church Women’s United organization.  Members of the E. Louise Brown Missionary Society attended Church Women United meetings regularly and began to assume officer positions.  A scholarship fund was established by Lloyd Brown in the honor of his mother “E. Louise Brown”.  Thanksgiving care packages were also given to Bethel youth who were college students.
Sister Gertrude Harris served as President of the E. Louise Brown Missionary Society for eight years.  Her tenure was followed by that of Sister Laurie Peery.  Sister Laurie Peery continued to serve us for 8 years.  During the presidency of Mrs. Peery, the WMS  attended numerous conferences and state meetings, won Dorcas Queen on the state level and placed on the district level.
In early 2000s, we honored our senior WMS members, Anna Beane, Catherine West and Sarah Pennix with lunch.  Gift cards are given to our college students for Thanksgiving and Christmas gift cards are given to the needy.  We also sponsored two rooms for the transitional Living Center (TLC), providing curtains and bed linens.
We cannot forget our wonderful Young People’s Division and the members who have served as Y. P. D. Directors following the late Mrs. Eleanor Rose.  Charmaine Melton, Dulcina Beane, Rita Turner, Crystal Hall, Eulah Price and presently Antinette Beane (2011) have also served our youth as dynamic Youth Directors. Mrs. Rose served during such a time when Y. P. D. directorship terms were not restricted.  Subsequent terms of service have been limited to 8 years. 
E. Louise Brown Missionary Society has been blessed to have the following to serve on the state and area levels.  Sister Virginia Raines served as appointed Board member and Recording Secretary for 4 years.  Sister E. Louise Brown served as Board Chairman of three committees, Y. P. D. Director, 1 Vice President and area Chairperson and was a Life Member.
Sister Laurie Peery served on the Commission of Handy Simmons Scholarship and she is a Life Member.  Sister Rita Beane-Turner served as the Roxie L. Arnold Area Y. P. D. and Area Director.  Currently Sister Loretta Freeman serves as Roxie L. Arnold Area Director WMS (2011)
 “Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand and voices that is still”.
Numerous women have served as officers of the Women’s Missionary Society during the years.  Much of the history has been chronicled by none other than Mrs. E. Louise Brown herself.
Those presently serving as officers (2011) are: Rita Beane Turner-President, Wanda Alston-Secretary/Treasurer, Gertrude Harris-PME and Antinette  “Chinene” Beane-Y. P.D. Director
Please go to our link page to access additional information
on the Connectional WMS initiatives of the AME Church.