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. . .we can find something to do; and above all, let us do that something cheerfully. Let us take some task off some tired mother's hands, or help nurse the sick baby back to health.
How the woman helps the church, when she goes in the name of God and the church to the home of distress and illness; she becomes one of them, and her cheery words are like music to their sickened senses. It is the woman's work to visit the poor and the sick and see to their wants, and when circumstances render it impossible for the poorer members to attend church, to go to them in their homes and read to them and make them feel that they are remembered. Ibid.

In the twentieth century Southern Baptists began to underwrite benevolent institutions, and women in local congregations assisted these corporate efforts with contributions of time and money. The Texas women's missionary societies attempted to encourage and draw attention to diverse, individual ministrations by including "Personal Service" among their official departments, but this area of work remained elusive and less affected by statisticians and campaigns than either education or missions proved to be. This was probably not because the incidence of personal benevolence diminished between 1880 and 1920—many Baptist churches remained small, rural, and individualistic and Baptist women were still primarily homemakers at the end of the period—but because so much of its reward lay in its personal, spontaneous aspect. Whether directed toward large institutions, enumerated and credited toward a

standard of excellence,
or, as was more typical, quietly bestowed upon family and neighbor, performing small acts of kindness was satisfying to Baptist women from both Christian and feminine perspectives.

None but a mother's heart can direct the teaching of the little children
BS , June 19, 1913, p. 11. became the conviction of most Americans in the nineteenth century, and Texas Baptists were not exceptions. Females (even those who were not mothers possessed a potential "mother-heart") led in the religious instruction of Baptist children--Sunday schools, mission study groups, and training unions. Baptist historian Leon McBeth confirms the paradox that
among Southern Baptists, a denomination that often forbade its women to teach in the church, Sunday School teaching was from the first, primarily a ministry of women.
McBeth, p. 105. This exception was made because Sunday schools were not officially integrated into Baptist church life until late in the nineteenth century; they were at first extra-church, community or private efforts, and a rigorous application of the scriptures silencing women was not made in these arenas. Moreover, Sunday schools imparted information, but did not offer "invitations" to convert. The exception was also attributable to the natural affinity of women and children widely respected at the time. When Baptist churches did incorporate Sunday school work into the denomination's programs, women had already won an undisputed place as teachers in all but adult classes that included men.

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Source:  OpenStax, Patricia martin's phd thesis. OpenStax CNX. Dec 12, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11462/1.1
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