The idea of Honoring Women is based on Romans 12:10: Love each other with sisterly affection and take delight in honoring each other. This annual event happens on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s day to reflect the theme of love in the Romans text. The Honoring Women Luncheon is an opportunity for congregations to lift up Bold Women—one who exemplifies a faith filled life; who sets an example for other women to follow through her church attendance, her participation in church events, her caring for others in the community, her values, and her love of family including her church family. A woman who lives her faith in all she does. A woman who is not perfect, but with a sense of humor and who loves life.
The Board of the Southeast Michigan Women of the ELCA determined in the year 2000 that the name of our ‘Honoring Women’ event should be formally changed to honor the memory of one of our mentors, Katy York.
To know Katy was to love her. Katy in no way thought of this event as a means to single out any one woman in a congregation. Instead, she felt that a woman would be chosen to represent ALL of the women in a congregation. Katy participated in activities of Women in the Detroit Conference, Southeast Michigan Women of the ELCA and ACTION of LSSM. She knew that if you wanted something done, you must give it to a busy person…..and she did!
Katy York was Auxiliary President from 1972 to 1979 of Lutheran Social Services Michigan (formed in 1959) and a member of 1st English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Grosse Pointe Woods, where she taught 5th grade Sunday School.
She was a spokes-woman (a go-getter and a rebel type of woman) for the churches from Adrian to Saginaw (350 churches at that time). She mentored the women of these churches, encouraging good deeds such as making cancer pads, nursing gowns that would cover the whole body for nursing homes, bibs and diapers for the elderly and holders for walkers. In September of 1974 she coordinated the publication of a collection of recipes shared by Lutheran women in Michigan and Ohio. The collection was fondly referred to as ‘Katy’s Red Book.’ She changed the dime folder project to ‘Care & Share’ and began ‘Loaf of Love’ which was a lacquered bread loaf with a slot for coins for nursing homes. She introduced agency tee shirts with the legend ‘Lutherans are Loveable’ lettered in red over a blue LSSM logo.
Katy brought enthusiasm, a strong faith and a gift for organization to the auxiliary projects and agency programs, drawing many volunteers to LSSM. She had a wonderful sense of humor and she reached out to all as a motivational speaker. Katy developed a wide-spread network of women, spurring them to action. A butterfly adorned her shoulder every day which is why we recognize our honorees with a butterfly.
Many women might not have become active in the women’s organization if it had not been for Katy. She asked you to use your God-given talents to work for His church.
Rea (Katy) York was born on August 15, 1923 and died on August 23, 1992. Her husband Ray, at this writing, lives in Colorado. Her granddaughter carries on her work at 1st English Evangelical Lutheran Church.
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