The History of CWU
Since 1941 women of the Church Women United Movement have held a vision of Christian unity and prayerful action. CWU was founded as a racially, culturally, and theologically inclusive Christian women’s movement to celebrate unity in diversity and work for peace in the world.
In 2000 Rebecca Evans from Birmingham Alabama extended an invitation to Bettye Thomas to come to the Alabama State meeting of Church Women United. Three ladies from Montgomery Alabama were there. Rebecca asked the three ladies to permit Bettye to ride back to Montgomery with them. On the way to Montgomery, the three ladies gave Bettye an orientation on revitalizing the Montgomery unit. Nancy Brenner and Nancy Chambless began efforts to make that possible by searching for a place to meet.
The Montgomery unit grew fast. In 2002, Sharon Latour was elected president of the new group. Alabama Arise, Renascence House, City Jail ministry, Salvation Army ministry, Teenage Pregnancy ministry in the Montgomery Public School system, Taste of Church Women United, Food Bank, Aid-To-Inmate Mothers and the Montgomery Bus Celebration Breakfast generated back into active status, and membership went up to above 100 persons including 2 male honorary members.
Throughout the years, Presidents Sharon Latour, Dorothy Johnson, Bettye Thomas, Ophelia Jackson, Denise Gordon, Arnetta Bradley, Avril Harris and Joanne Compton each brought their love and organizational enthusiasm.
Through our celebrations, we have prayed together, moving hearts and souls, opening eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to give and hearts to act. With the inspired leadership of the Lord, we continue to lead as the Lord inspires our minds to understand the desires for our future, praying as we move in the name of Jesus.
At its founding, the Movement was named United Council of Church Women (UCCW). Women of faith from three interdenominational women’s groups representing 70 denominations convened in Atlantic City, NJ in December, 1941 while bombs were being dropped and the world was at war. The United Council of Church Women’s first action was to circulate a petition signed by 84,000 church women “urging the United States at the signing of the United Nations Charter, to join and take its full responsibility in a world organization.”
The action received wide publicity in the media and Eleanor Roosevelt later involved the UCCW in a conference at the White House on “How Women May Share in Post War Policy Making.” Such action remains typical for CWU today as its quest for informed prayer for prayerful action continues. Women of the Movement affirm that prayer and action are inseparable and that both have immeasurable influence in the wor