This announcement at the workers' retreat last fall was the beginning of a new experience for the ministers' wives of the Ohio Conference. We walked down the path, crossed a small stream of water, and sat on the log benches at Camp Mohaven's Indian Village to listen as Elder Cleveland read a poem he had composed as he walked through the wooded area to the meeting place. The poem described the ideal wife. His topic, "Ten Commandments for the Minister's Wife," was practical and inspiring. We liked what we heard and wanted more.
"Let's have more ladies' meetings."
"Can't we have an exchange sheet?"
The conference officers were agreeable to having regular meetings for the women, and it was decided our exchange sheet could accompany the Parson's Corner, a semimonthly communication to keep the workers informed of plans and programs initiated and promoted by the conference administration and departments, as well as news about workers. And so the Helpmeet's Nook was born.
Since the inception of this idea last summer, we have organized a steering committee, consisting of five members, with Mrs. L. F. Kagels, wife of the Toledo pastor, as chairman. The steering committee made tentative plans for the entire year. Topics suggested by the women were assigned to different individuals to develop.
At an all-day workers' meeting in March, the women met separately for one hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Introducing the topic of self-improvement, Mrs. Kagels said: "Some will never bother to find out what is inside the book if they don't like the cover. For this reason we are turning our attention to personal appearances, or the 'outer woman.' "
She emphasized the delicate balance between the outer and the inner woman. They must be put in proper perspective to the whole woman.
Mrs. Richard Figuhr led a well-planned symposium, with different women presenting the following topics:
- Love, warmth, and charm—essential personality ingredients for winning and holding friends
- Good grooming principles—a review of things we already know
- Graceful carriage—standing, sitting, and walking
- Clothes—what is appropriate for whom and when
- Hair care—why, and how, and a demonstration
Mrs. Figuhr reminded us that in discussing these things we are merely following inspired instruction. "While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance."—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 355.
The conference provided capable academy girls to care for the small children of the ministers' wives who wished to attend the meetings.
A special series of meetings at camp-meeting time was given by Margit Heppenstall. She discussed the "inner woman" and such subjects as the relationship of the minister's wife to her God, her husband, her children, her church, and her community. A panel discussion and opportunity for questions and answers followed each presentation.
Material for the Helpmeet's Nook is contributed by the various wives, and it is coordinated by Mrs. Philip Follett, Mrs. A. E. Harms, and Mrs. C. R. Beeler at conference headquarters. We have had articles, poems, recipes, family news, and quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy writings on such subjects as the minister's home. Some questions of general interest have been answered by Albert E. Brendel, Kettering Memorial Hospital chaplain.
Our meetings at the workers' retreat this fall will cover such topics as budgets and economics, the church's responsibility in sex education, interior decoration and flower arrangement, and the Adventist heritage.
Besides benefiting from the exchange of ideas in our meetings and through the Helpmeet's Nook, the ministers' wives are becoming better acquainted with one an other. Young women, just beginning life in the parsonage, are profiting from the counsel of those of more experience. At the same time, those of more experience are keeping better informed on new ideas and trends.
Ministers' wives of the Ohio Conference now feel very much a part of the conference program. We want to keep pace with our husbands by being able to fulfill more effectively the role of homemaker and helpmeet.