The International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows (IAMWW) was established in 1941 by Dr. Elizabeth Coles Bouey. Dr. Bouey has strong roots in Richmond as she graduated from Armstrong High School and furthered her education at schools in the area. In 1940 she issued a call to Minister’s wives and widows to unite in Christian fellowship. Along with a few other women, she started calling, driving, and walking to find local Richmond women. Soon they began recruiting wives and widows at a national level. The first National Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows was convened on April 8, 1941 at the Second Baptist Church in Richmond. Dr. Bouey subsequently led the Association to international status. Organizational membership is limited to ministers’ wives and widows, and members are primarily African-American. The organization currently is supported by approximately five thousand dues paying members.
The organizational draws its mission statement from Zechariah 4:6, “Keeping the Vision Going, Reaching Out, Reclaiming and Retaining “…not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit…” The International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows identifies five organizational purposes. First, to “Unite ministers’ wives and ministers’ widows of various Christian denominations into one Christian Fellowship.” Second, to “Sponsor an annual conference that provides information, inspiration, and problem-solving skill development.” Third, to “Cultivate international good will, develop stronger interpersonal relationships, and foster a more effective communication network.” Fourth, to “Promote cultural exchange with ministers’ wives and widows around the world.” And finally, to “Function as a Christian non-profit corporation and implement the Christian and Charitable purposes of the corporation.”
The International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows provides a variety of services. The organization gives endowments and scholarships to many colleges and universities. Educational classes are provided at local offices, such as courses concerning self-improvement courses, AIDS education, and teen pregnancy. The International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows has made contributions to American Cancer Society, United Negro College Fund, United Way, Children’s Orphanage, Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, and Hale House Center. There is a “weekly inspirational,” which is a blog to inspire members.
International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows
609 South Davis Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220
International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows’ website
International Association of Minister’s Wives and Widows’ president
Profile prepared by Jaclyn Allen