Maguire State Mission Offering
100 years: My Florida, My Mission
Aug 26, 2008
BARBARA DENMAN
Florida Baptist Convention

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JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—Happy Birthday State Mission Offering! The year 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of Florida Baptists’ focus on the missions needs of their state.

In 1908, the State Board of Missions recommended that the “sisters” in the Florida Baptist State Convention begin “a week of special prayer and study” for state missions and giving and for “our pastors and members to be invited to assist in this good work.”

Almost immediately the Woman’s Missionary Society embraced the idea, promoting it among the women, preparing and distributing free literature to the churches.

A letter written by Anne O’Neal, secretary of the College Street Baptist Church’s Society in Dade City (now First Baptist Church) demonstrates the women’s sacrificial giving to the offering. “Each member of the Society was challenged to earn a dollar for the special offering,” she wrote.

“One lady sold vinegar, cleaned silver and tacked a comforter. Another made hers by cleaning her husband’s guns. Some made theirs by selling milk, butter and eggs. Another made a kimono for her neighbor.”

The College street women collected $30.50 “only regretting while the needs are so great, that we cannot do more.” *

L. D. Geiger, corresponding secretary (1901-1909) of the State Board of Missions, assessed the efforts of the first offering as “highly gratifying.”

In 1985, the “Special State Mission Offering” was named in honor of long-time missions advocates John H. and Clyde Merrill Maguire.

That 100-year-old challenge to confront the Florida mission field continues to be the foundation for the Gospel-driven purpose of today’s Maguire State Mission Offering.

*From Faithful Servants by Martha Pope Trotter

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