GOD USES ORDINARY PEOPLE: THE ANNIE ARMSTRONG STORY
Annie Walker Armstrong
Annie Walker Armstrong was born in Baltimore, MD on July 11, 1850. She was the daughter of James D. and Mary (Walker) Armstrong.
She was the second youngest of five children. Being raised by devout Baptist mother and the religious mentallity of this time cultivated her "mission minded" attitude. Miss Annie's father died when she was an a baby but her mother was very active in church mission activities and was her role model.
Annie became a Christian at the age of 19 and was baptized by Richard Fuller into the Seventh Baptist Church in Baltimore. She left this church, along with 117 others, and joined the Eutaw Place Baptist Church just formed on February 20, 1871. She taught the infant class there for 30 years or more.
Census records show she attended school but where is not noted. There is no record of her attending college but her letters and business skills were evidence that she was well educated. She was known for her organizational skills, tireless energy and self-motivation which served her well in establishing and running mission organizations. She was a loyal servant to her church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist boards.
She was tall and stately. She had a strong will, outspoken, able to express her opinion and was able to stand up for herself. Again, characteristics that would come into play throughout her career.
Annie Armstrong died on December 20, 1938, the year of the WMU's 50th anniversary. She is buried in the Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. Her tombstone reads, "She hath done what she could."
Annie Armstrong Video
Her Efforts Are Continued ...
Armstrong's efforts are still seen today in Baptist organization, especially in the
- Ladies' Bay View Mission - Annie began the Ladies' Bay View Mission. This group cared for the poor located on the site where Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is now.
- Woman's Home Mission Society of Maryland was formed after Miss Annie and other women met with Baptist church representatitves to join in the Home Mission Board's causes. As president for 24 years of this organization, she led support for projects in New Orleans, Cuba, among Chinese and German immigrants in Baltimore, and with African American women in their church work.
- Armstrong became the corresponding secretary of the Mission Rooms in Baltimore. The Mission Rooms library and reading room evenutally became a publisher and distributor of missions literature for the Southern Baptist Convention for a time.
- Annie Armstrong became the first corresponding secretary of the WMU. The position is now an executive director position. "Go Forward," a rally cry from Miss Annie was adopted as WMU's first motto.
- Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions - Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon proposed a Christmas Offering to raise money to send single women to China to work with Lottie. Enough money was raised to send three
missionaries. This offering became the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions, a name recommended by Annie. To date this offering has raised over $2.6 billion for foreign missions.
- Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions - Armstrong established the first WMU self-denial offering for Home Missions. In 1934 it was renamed for Annie as the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. To date it has raised over $1.1 billion.
Maryland Baptist Mission Rooms
In 1890, the organization adopted the name Woman's Missionary Union, Auxiliary to Southern Baptist Convention
WMU headquarters in the Maryland Baptist Mission Rooms
In 1921, Kathleen Mallory oversaw the move to downtown Birmingham, Alabama.
1111 Comer Building, at 2nd Avenue North and 21st Street.
WMU National Office
New Birmingham Office
As WMU grew the national headquarters need more space. In 1951, it purchased property at 600 North 20th Street in downtown Birmingham.
New Hope Mountain
In 1984, the national headquarters moved once again to New Hope Mountain on U.S. Highway 280, just outside the Birmingham city limits.
Annie Armstrong Quotes
- "The future lies all before. Shall it only be a slight advance upon what we usually do? Ought it not to be a bound, a leap forward, to altitudes of endeavor and success undreamed of before?"
- On May 24, 1900, she told a group of Southern Baptist women, "I believe we have left a century of small things and are on the outlook for larger things. Ways to work we never dreamed of before."
- rallying cry was, "Go Forward!"
- She once said she could be a Presbyterian, or perhaps an Episcopalian, but never a Baptist! Ironically, around the age of 20, Annie joined an SBC church. From then on, her drive and leadership abilities drew her to the heart of Baptist women's missionary work.
Annie Armstrong Offering Video
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He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.