Julia Chester Emery

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Julia Chester Emery
Founder of the United Thank Offering
Born (1852-09-24)September 24, 1852
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Died January 9, 1922(1922-01-09) (aged 69)
New York City
Canonized 1997
Feast January 9

Julia Chester Emery (September 24, 1852 – January 9, 1922) was the National Secretary of the Women's Auxiliary of the Board of Missions for forty years, from 1876 to 1916. The Calendar of saints of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America commemorates her life of service on January 9.[1]

Early life[edit]

Captain Charles Emery, was a sea captain and devout Episcopalian. He and his wife Susan had eleven children, the majority of whom distinguished themselves in religious service. Two sons became priests. His daughter Mary preceded Julia as National Secretary of the Auxiliary and served from 1872 to 1876. Three other daughters (Susan, Margaret and Helen) also supported Episcopal missions at home and abroad, including making their home on 24th Street available to foreign missionaries visiting the United States.[2]


During her four decades as National Secretary, a position she first held at age 24, Julia visited every diocese in the United States, coordinating and encouraging work in support of missions. Invited by the Bishop of New York, Emery traveled to London as a delegate to the Pan-Anglican Congress and the Lambeth Conference in 1908. She traveled to Japan, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines to advance missionary work there, and to be able to report on it to the Episcopal women in the United States.[3] Through her self-effacing work, women received canonical status as deaconesses and the Women's Auxiliary received an important role in the General Convention.[4]

Emery founded the United Thank Offering (UTO). This worked by giving each woman a small box with a slit in the top and encouraging her to drop a small contribution into it whenever she felt thankful for something. Once a year, the women of the parish presented these at a Sunday service. The money was sent to national headquarters to be used for missions.

Death and legacy[edit]

"Miss Julia" died in New York City, and was buried at the cemetery of St. James the Less,[5] Scarsdale, Westchester County, New York.[6]

The United Thank Offering continues to this day, and collects and gives away over $1 million annually.[7]


  1. ^ Lesser Feast and Fasts: 2006 (Church Publishing, 2006)
  2. ^ http://www.southbear.com/anglicanism/Lectionary/Calendar_Archives/Emery.html
  3. ^ Brightest and Best: A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts by Sam Portaro (Cowley, 2001)
  4. ^ http://prayer.forwardmovement.org/the_calendar_response.php?id=400109
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  6. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=23929626
  7. ^ http://www.episcopalchurch.org/uto


  • Brightest and Best: A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts by Sam Portaro (Cowley, 2001).
  • The Proper for the Lesser Feast and Fasts: 2006. New York, NY: Church Publishing. 2006. 
  • Don S. Armentrout, Robert Boak Slocum (1984). Documents of Witness: A History of the Episcopal Church 1782–1985. New York, NY: Church Publishing. pp. 429–433. ISBN 0-89869-237-7. 

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