hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 18:05:48 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Women of Aspenland: Images from central Alberta See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada
English / FrançaisHomeThe ProjectSearchSitemapContactAbout UsEdukits

The Women
Social Landscape
The Region

Search for Aspenland Artifacts
Visit Alberta Source!
Heritage Community Foundation.

Church Work


Along with membership in provincial and national church organizations, women have been part of church life in many other ways. Through to present women have emerged not only as leaders within churches, but in many instances the sustaining force. This has come through employment related work, as lay workers or ministers. Even if they are not involved as professional ministers, women often perform many of the administrative and maintenance duties in church communities.

Women's church-based organizations, such as the Vonin Ladies Aid Society active in the Icelandic Lutheran community at Markerville, focus their energies on maintenance of church buildings and related educational and service activities. Women in the region have been central to the organization and teaching of Sunday school for children and the range of church events and to raise funds for church-related activities.

  Featured Article

The Way of Hope: The Vonin Ladies Aid Society by Dorothy Murray

Another way in which the AWMS and other women's church organizations, like the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), became involved in the public sphere was through social activism. In particular, they lobbied government for prohibition, preservation of the Sabbath, religion in schools and laws regarding moral issues and peace (although minimized during the World Wars).

Confirmation class in Anglican Church, Innisfail.  Glenbow ArchivesIn many cases they were successful in their work. For example, in 1916, 61 per cent of the Alberta government voted in favor of prohibition and passed a bill forbidding the consumption of alcoholic beverages. These social or moral reform movements were often tied to women's rights movements. For instance, the WCTU also fought for women suffrage and its president Louise McKinney was one the Famous 5 involved in the "Persons" Case and the first woman to be appointed to the Alberta Legislature. Women activists of the period often tied their arguments concerning greater rights to women's role as guardians of Christian morals in society. Therefore, in a sense, women used their religious values and morals to gain greater prominence in the public or political sphere. However, their social activism was still in keeping with women's traditional role as mothers - responsible for cleaning up indecencies both within their own homes and society - and, thus, at times, it has reinforced limits to women's roles.


  • Owen, Michael. "Lighting the Pathways for New Canadians": Methodist and United Church WMS Missions in Eastern Alberta, 1904-1940." Standing on New Ground: Women in Alberta. Eds. Catherine Cavanaugh and Randi Warne. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1993.
  • Thrift, Gayle. " 'Women of Prayer are Women of Power': Women's Missionary Societies in Alberta, 1918-1939." Alberta History 1999 47(2): 10-17.




Copyright © 2002 Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on women and Western settlement, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Communty Foundation All Rights Reserved