The founder of THE AME missionaries was Sarah Allen (1764–1849) who was one of the most famous and revered church women of her time, beloved for establishing the first recognized charity organization for female parishioners and honored as the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church’s first female missionary. She also aided runaway slaves through the famous Underground Railroad. She was wife of the founder and first Bishop of the AME Church Richard Allen.
The Helen M. Paxton Women’s Missionary Society was organized from the Women’s Missionary Society of St. Paul AME Church, Columbus, Oh, in 1990; and named in honor of Helen M. Paxton for her untiring and faithful service.
Helen Paxton was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma and graduated from Langston University. She became a public school teacher and the owner of Paxey’s Play School in Columbus, Ohio. At St. Paul Mrs. Paxton founded the Wee Wisdom and the Angelic Choirs. She was a Sunday school Teacher; member of the Steward Board and Servamus Club; and Lay Organization. She was married to Attorney Edmond Paxton. They were the parents of three daughters: Susan Paxton, Hope Jackson and Helen Arnold.
The Helen M. Paxton’s W.M.S. is part of the connectional Women’s Missionary Society of the AME Church and it supports many ministries of the Ohio Conference and the Third District. Some of the ministries they support are: St. Paul’s outreach ministry; YWCA Family Center, coordinated donations to Wilberforce Closet; Blanket Sunday, Angels Gift Box which collects winter gloves, hats, etc., for elementary age children in the community; meals, visitations, phone calls and cards for St. Paul’s homebound members ; Merzell McGhee’s Scholarship;recognition of church members 90 plus; annual Christmas Party for the Franklin County Kinship program held at Mt. Vernon AME Church; and the Young People’s Division (Y.P.D.).
In 1997 Unit 1 of the Helen M. Paxton’s WMS for formed which consisted of young women who were Y.P.D. leaders and supporters.
They not only instructed the youth, they also provided ministries which served the community including Children’s Hospital. Nancy Thomas served as their adviser; Priscilla Smith was the Chair and Pam Garrett, second-chair. In 2001 Priscilla Smith introduced the MWANGAZA (light) rites of passage ministry which was a workshop to help prepare high school graduates entering college. Melayne Dixon chairs the scholarship fund which is awarded annually at the Missionary Emphasis Sunday.
The Society’s 30 members are striving to achieve its mission which is to serve with a positive, spirit filled attitude. Former presidents who have given a firm foundation of service and have embraced the spirit of caring; are: Lugenia Ferguson, Merzell McGhee, Eunice Hall, Lucile Palmer, Georgia McKeever and Clarice Davies.
Former president Georgia McKeever always worked hard to lead women willing to step out on faith to continue God’s Mission; use their unique gift that needs to be nurtured, encouraged and supported. Some of her goals were to work in harmony with the society’s members; inform church family about the ministries which the society participated; and dedicated the naming of St. Paul’s undercroft (basement) in honor of Helen M. Paxton.
Elected at the November 2015 meeting, Nancy Thomas who has served in the Missionary for over 40 years in various positions, stresses that the missions are the same as the others with emphasis on making sure everyone knows that “We Care” and are passionate about them and each other. We will always stress “Hope, Faith and Love”. Nothing comes before the love of God.