Founders and early leaders of the SCHC (Companions): Emily Morgan and Vida Scudder, photoshopped with the founders and early leaders of the Episcopal Church Women, the Emery Sisters.

Companions Presenting at Episcopal Church Women’s Triennial This Year

by Ann Smith, Companion, Happehatchee Chapter, and Lynn Adams, Companion, Northwest Chapter

Companions Presenting at Episcopal Church Women’s Triennial This Year

In Heaven They Say, It’s About Time

“The big days for the Companions are July 9-11, when our booth will be Companioned and our workshop will be scheduled.”

It is told that in Heaven, founders and leaders of two church women’s organizations have met for tea and sweets. Emily Morgan founded and Vida Scudder shaped the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, called the Companions. The Emery Sisters, Julia, Mary, Susan and Margaret, founded and shaped the Women’s Auxiliary to the Board of Missions of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, now Episcopal Church Women (ECW).

The ladies’ conversation turns to the upcoming 2022 General Convention of the Episcopal Church and concurrent ECW Triennial meeting. The ECW will be celebrating its 150th anniversary.


Emily and Vida are saying how excited they are to see plans for the Companions to have a booth at General Convention and a workshop at the Women’s Auxiliary Triennial.

The Emery sisters, in unison, exclaim, “Episcopal Church Women!”

Julia continues, “Dears, it’s Episcopal Church Women, now, you know. Try to remember. The women don’t like to think of themselves as merely auxiliary these days.”

“Ah, yes! I keep forgetting the new name,” Emily exclaims. “But I never thought women were ‘auxiliary’.” She gestures quotation marks in the air. Everyone laughs.

Fearing that she has embarrassed Emily, Julia sooths, “No matter. We’re so glad you plan to have a booth and give a workshop.”

They all agree that the Triennial theme, “Remember, Serve, Imagine,” is excellent.  They know that when Episcopal women recall their amazing history/herstory and imagine a future, energy and inspiration flow. More women will get involved in ministries of many kinds.


Historically, the ministries women led and gravitated toward were called women’s ministries, and many of them were directed toward women’s needs. Comparing the two organizations’ purposes, Emily and Vida recall their efforts for women factory workers who worked long hours in unsafe conditions with little time off. Emily and the early Companions provided places of hospitality and rest for them. Vida was prominent in the labor movement for better working conditions.

The Emery sisters recall that after the 30th General Convention in 1871, the Board of Missions authorized them to organize a Women’s Society. They quickly did so, calling it the Women’s Auxiliary. In their early years, thousands of volunteers helped train and support missionaries within the United States and in other countries.

They all remember with laughter how the Victorian age dictated fashions of fussy cumbersome clothing that were a burden in moving freely.

Emily remarks, “That is why we had simplicity of life as one of our aims—along with intercessory prayer, thanksgiving, peace, reconciliation, and what they now call ‘social justice.’” (Air quotes again.)


After reminiscing a while longer, they all nibble the last crumbs and rise from the gilded chairs, agreeing to meet again in God’s time. These women might have felt just a tinge of competitiveness back in the day. However, that does not diminish their high regard for what the two distinctive organizations have been able to do. God’s women have plenty to talk about in every age.


  • Are you a member of ECW? We appreciate the invitation to be part of the Triennial and look forward to meeting you. Look for us on the workshop program and in the convention’s exhibit hall.
  • Calling all Companions who plan to attend General Convention in 2022! Please let Companion-in-Charge of Chapters, Marti Hunt, or Companion-in-Charge, Edwina Simpson, know you are coming.
  • For Companions who might be able, please plan to come. The big days for the Companions are July 9-11. The booth will be Companioned, and our workshop and reception will take place in that period.