Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

No project of this magnitude is completed without assistance from many people. Thanks are due to the late Reverend Ms. Alexis Brent and to the Reverend Mr. Gregor Dike, who initially granted me access to the records at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church (UMC). ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

The story of St. Mark’s Community Center and the St. Mark’s congregation is a story about women. It is a story about white, southern women, about Methodist women, women who were products of their own time and place but who also challenged the prevailing culture in both subtle and dramatic ways, and who brought about substantial change in New Orleans. ...

Part I: Methodist Women Doing Settlement Work: 1895–World War I

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Chapter 1: The Mary Werlein Mission, 1895–1908

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pp. 25-56

In May 1940, daily newspapers in New Orleans chronicled the death of Mary Werlein. The States called her “one of the most devoted charity workers this city has ever known.” It began its coverage with a phrase that sounded fitting for a sermon: “Miss Mary Werlein’s body turns to dust in Metairie cemetery, but her soul lives. . . .” It went on to praise her in extravagant terms: ...

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Chapter 2: St. Mark’s Hall, 1909–1917

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pp. 57-82

Although Lillie Meekins and other city missionaries had lived in the neighborhood, if not the very building, where they served, the women of the MECS moved into an ambitious new phase of settlement work in New Orleans with the establishment of St. Mark’s Hall at 619–21 Esplanade Avenue and the assignment of deaconess Margaret Ragland as head resident. ...

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Chapter 3: St. Mark’s Community Center in the Post–World War I Era

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pp. 83-104

Lagging behind the MEC by nearly two decades, the MECS finally approved laity voting rights for women at the General Conference of 1918. The first women delegates to General Conference were seated in 1922.1 The bishops had adamantly opposed this change and had successfully stymied campaigns by the women for the last several General Conferences. ...

Part II: Work for Gender and Racial Equality: 1920s–1960

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Chapter 4: “A Restlessness of Women”

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pp. 107-134

In the 1920s and 1930s, the deaconesses in New Orleans laid the groundwork that allowed a major incident in the city’s civil rights struggle to play out later at St. Mark’s. The training that MECS deaconesses underwent, including its theological, spiritual, practical, and economic aspects, prepared them for a profound embodiment of their Christianity. ...

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Chapter 5: Addressing Racial Injustice before and after Brown

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pp. 135-156

The decades following World War II saw significant activity by Methodists in New Orleans seeking gender and racial equality. On a national level, the 1950s were marked by the handing down of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in May 1954 and by the first ordination of a woman in The Methodist Church in 1956. ...

Part III: Crises in Church, Center, and City: 1960–1965

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Chapter 6: St. Mark’s in Crisis, 1960–1965

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pp. 159-182

The first half of the 1960s was a time of trauma for St. Mark’s. Both the congregation and the community center were struggling to meet the ethical challenges of the civil rights movement and the reality of integration in New Orleans. The still-recent granting of clergy rights to women in The Methodist Church ...

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Chapter 7: Assessing St. Mark’s in the Sixties

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pp. 183-206

As member Mary Morrison later wrote, Foreman’s stand “under these dangerous and trying conditions focused national attention on him and his church,” and “led to turbulent days” for St. Mark’s.1 Subjective opinions offered by persons who were members of the congregation at the time range ...

Part IV: Post-1965 and Conclusion

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Chapter 8: Since 1965

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pp. 209-222

This chapter, covering the time between 1965 and the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, is an epilogue to the story of St. Mark’s that this book has recounted. It discusses a few selected events from that period, focusing in part on the years immediately after the last deaconess retired. ...

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Chapter 9: Conclusion

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pp. 223-244

In 2003, Wendy Deichmann Edwards and Carolyn De Swarte Gifford’s anthology, Gender and the Social Gospel, called for more research on the women who were the movement’s practitioners. The call was not precisely a new one— White and Hopkins had noted as early as 1976 that women had been “neglected” in previous studies.1

Appendix A: Sources for Research on MECS Women’s Work

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pp. 245-253

Appendix B: A Charter of Racial Policies

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p. 254

Notes

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pp. 255-294

Index

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pp. 295-303