Thirty years ago this year, the Committee of the London City Mission reached a decision. By the beginning of the 1980s, over two and a half thousand missionaries had served with LCM since our foundation in 1835.
‘Mr Pearson … has long seen that some womanly teaching among the women, and especially as connected with a Bible Mission, would be of great assistance to him with regard to his own work … By the aid of his experience, the good woman, Martha, was selected … Martha’s own full experience of poverty fits her to sympathise at once with her poorest neighbours’
The LCM Magazine, Nov. 1860
“The Mothers’ Meeting is conducted by my wife, and there is an average attendance of 80 out of a membership of 120 … Low, drunken women have signed the pledge, which means cleaner, brighter homes, more food for the children, and more comfort for the husbands, which tends to keep them at home.’
The LCM Magazine, Nov. 1905
‘An old lady of eighty-five, living in alms-houses, has forwarded two shillings’ worth (of pennies) by the missionary who, nearly thirty years ago, led her to the Lord.’
The LCM Magazine, Aug. 1938
‘After spending three weeks in London with LCM, I had a chance to figure out my strengths and weaknesses, and to do all sorts of things that I had never tried before. It was extremely tough at times, and fun at other times, but physically exhausting!’
Patricia Marby, The LCM Magazine, J./Feb 1981
Women in Mission
Thirty years ago this year, the Committee of the London City Mission reached a decision. By the beginning of the 1980s, over two and a half thousand missionaries had served with LCM since our foundation in 1835. Throughout the 80s the LCM Committee, whose minutes reside in our archives, had been debating whether the time had come for women to serve as missionaries.
In 1989, the decision had been made, and on the 3rd of July the LCM Committee approved the first female probationer. Obviously, the same rigorous standards and training as had been applied to brothers in the Mission for over 150 years would be applied to their sisters! Of course, the first woman to be accepted as a salaried ‘woman evangelist’ (Julie Piner) was by no means the first woman to be doing or supporting the work of the City Mission – not least Julie herself, who had worked alongside an LCM Missionary for 3 and a half years!
In 2019, 30 years later LCM benefits immeasurably from 88 current female missionaries and staff, out of a team of 205 (led by a Leadership Team that is 50% women). Our Pioneer Programme currently has nine people being trained for mission in the poorest areas of London, of whom five are women.
Here are a few of our stories:
Jennifer Garibay, Missionary in Vauxhall
Lynne McLeavy, Missionary to Marginalised Women
This article draws heavily on a chapter from Streets Paved with Gold, the history of LCM from 1835 until the turn of the Millennium.