Advocate for Women’s Roles in Mission
Evelyn Riley Nicholson was born in Minnesota. She was president of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society from 1921 to 1940. In 1923, she gave a major address at the International Missionary Council on “The Place of Women in the Church on the Mission Field.” One of the first women to be asked to make such a presentation, her topic proposed new avenues of equality for women.
Also during this period, she was greatly involved in the negotiations for the union of three Methodist denominations. Chairing the Committee on Women’s Work for the 1939 United Conference, Nicholson gave skillful leadership in the struggle to secure equal rights for the Woman’s Division in the new Board of Missions.
Under her leadership, in 1939, national Methodist women’s organizations of twenty-nine countries signed the Charter of the World Federation of Methodist Women. The new Federation elected her its first president. Her book, The Way to a Warless World, published after World War I, was placed in the cornerstone of the Church Center for the United Nations in 1962.
Taken from They Went Out Not Knowing… An Encyclopedia of One Hundred Women in Mission (New York: Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1986). Used with permission of United Methodist Women.