Annie Armstrong

The Southern Baptists’ North American missions offering was named for her.  But who was she?  Learn about this famous missions leader, Annie Armstrong (link 1), and see how we can live missionary lives as well.  Look for free resources in English, Spanish, and Korean at Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. 

Annie Walker Armstrong was the first corresponding secretary (executive director) of Woman's Missionary Union. She was born on July 11, 1850, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her family was very active in Baptist life. Annie went with her mother to the missionary meetings of Woman's Mission to Woman. There she learned how important it is to give to and pray for missions. She developed a heart for missions. Annie worked with Indians, immigrants, Blacks, and children. In 1882, Annie helped organize the Woman's Baptist Home Mission Society of Maryland. She was the first president of the society.

In other states women did missions work. On May 14, 1888, women from 12 states met in Richmond, Virginia. They formed the Executive Committee of Woman's Mission Societies, Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1888, Annie Armstrong was elected corresponding secretary. Today that position is known as executive director. In 1890 the group became Woman's Missionary Union. Annie Armstrong served WMU until 1906. She did not accept a salary for her work. In 1934 the offering for the Home Mission Board was renamed the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for Home Missions. Annie Armstrong died on December 20, 1938. Woman's Missionary Union was 50 years old.

Important events that happened while Annie Armstrong was director of WMU:


1888 The motto, “Go Forward” was chosen.

Foreign missions offering established to send a missionary to China to relieve Lottie Moon.

1890 The organization was officially named Woman’s Missionary Union, Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention.

WMU agreed to raise enough money to support all women foreign missionaries.

1892 First week of prayer held in connection with the Christmas Offering.
1894 WMU began promoting work of the Sunday School Board. Extra offering taken to pay Foreign Mission Board debt. The offering went over its goal.
1895 First week of prayer and offering to pay off Home Mission Board Debt was established.
1896 WMU adopted Sunbeam work at the request of the Foreign Mission Board.
1899 WMU recommended that churches use a system of organizations for missionary education. Baby Bands was the first group organized.
1900 WMU set up and funded the Home Mission’s Board Church Building Loan Fund.

WMU opened the Margaret Home for children of missionaries who were overseas.

First WMU-sponsored church-wide event – a stewardship emphasis.

1906 WMU began the process of legal incorporation.

WMU adopted a week of prayer for state missions.

WMU began publishing literature for sale. Our Mission Fields is the magazine published by WMU.

More information on Annie Armstrong can be found at the WMU library section of our Web site or in the new history of WMU, The Story of WMU, by Rosalie Hunt, available from WMU.
Get Started with WMU 
Multicultural Team Blog

In his book Both Feet In, retired missionary Dr. Bud Fray references an old African proverb that says: “Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” It’s like testing the temperature of the pool water before you jump in; we stick our toe in first and if it’s too cold we have the option of pulling back. Once we jump in with both feet we are committed . . . and we better know how to swim!