Winifred Mason Moore Showalter
Winifred Mason Moore Showalter
Winifred Showalter was born February 14, 1885 and died April 9, 1956. For over 71 years the force of this godly woman's life was felt among those whom she touched. Her life of dedication to the cause of Christ makes her worthy of great recognition and memory. The husband of her youth was Marshall S. Mason, a popular and successful preacher of the gospel. As her husband stayed on the go with preaching appointments primarily in Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri, Winnie was the picture of the perfect wife. As well as being keeper of their home, she ran a millinery business to help support her family. Tragedy struck their home when Brother Mason was murdered while preaching in a Gospel Meeting near Little Rock, Arkansas in 1930.
Her strength through this particular time in her life began to be seen when the following year after her husband's death, she began writing for the Christian Worker magazine. Her work was to promote the home, encouraging women and families in the daily stresses of life to remain faithful to God. The editor of the magazine, Homer E. Moore, had been a long-time friend of her late husband, who had been a regular writer for the magazine during his life. Moore offered Winifred a regular column under the title, "The Home Department," that began appearing in March of 1931.
A very close and enduring friendship developed between Winnie and Homer E. Moore, who was no stranger to sorrow himself. He was a widower, having lost his wife of thirty-four years to death in 1926. Also, three of his eight children had perished before his wife's death. Friendship turned to love, resulting in marriage in June of 1933. After their marriage, she worked closely with her husband who was seventeen years her senior. Her business skills were a great addition to the day to day effort of the Christian Worker.
The same year of their marriage, a new magazine started in the offices of the Christian Worker. Winnie served as editor of this new paper, dedicated to women. The Christian Woman was a 16-page magazine filled with articles primarily suited to encourage and challenge the daily walk of Christian women. This magazine has seen changes through the years, but continues to this day.
In 1941, just eight years into their marriage, sadness struck the Moore family once again. Now in his seventy-third year, Homer passed away quietly at home, just days before the Christmas holidays. Grief was surrounding the family, but also the nation, as earlier that month, the 7th, the nation was rocked with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands.
For the next few years after the death of Brother Moore, his son Paul edited the Christian Worker, and Winnie continued to edit the Christian Woman magazine in Wichita, Kansas.
On September 6, 1945, Winnie married again. G.H.P. Showalter, a gospel preacher, and editor of the Firm Foundation magazine, had in 1943, suffered the loss of his wife of forty-three years. He was both a father and grandfather. Similar to the previous marriage to H.E. Moore, George was fifteen years Winifred's senior. At sixty years of age, she and her new husband had so much in common. In addition to their mutual love for the church, they both were heavily involved in carriers connected with their editorial duties. The Christian Woman moved its production to Austin, Texas to where the Firm Foundation was being produced.
For the next nine years G.H.P. and Winifred Showalter continued to be known and respected widely among churches of Christ. They personal touched the loves of men and women in their own unique way all over the world. However, just weeks after their ninth wedding anniversary, and just two days after George's 84th birthday, he became very ill. He passed from this life October 17th, 1954.
With George's death, and at the age of sixty-nine, Winifred retired from her editorial work after twenty-one years at the helm of the Christian Woman, and moved back to her home in Springfield, Missouri. She spent next two years near her family. On April 9, 1956 she passed away, being in the seventy-first year of her life. Her body was laid beside the grave of her first husband, Marshall, who had preceded her in death over twenty-five years earlier.
Thus ended the life of a great woman in the Restoration Movement. She lived her life acquainted with grief and hardship as well as knowing the joy of Christian service. She was a leader among churches of Christ through her work as editor of the Christian Woman. She was married to three gospel preachers who also served as writers and publicists. Only eternity will know the good she accomplished in her life.
-Scott Harp, web editor, www.TheRestorationMovement.com
Editor's Note: Special thanks are extended to Janie Craun, editor of Christian Woman, for information and pictures on this site. The pictures are copyrighted by The Gospel Advocate Company.
The Women Behind Christian Woman
In 1933 a nurse in Denver, Colo., saw the need for a specialized magazine that would be a spiritual encouragement in the lives of Christian women. Winifred Mason Moore Showalter found the 250 subscribers necessary to meet postal regulations and began publishing Christian Woman, a 16-page magazine, at 50 cents for a year's subscription.
Each of the women who has edited CW, Winifred Showalter, Bettye Nichols, Ona Belknap, Mary Smith and Sandra Humphrey, has dealt with the cultural issues of her time, attempting to provide the readers of CW with a way to cope with and overcome the spiritual, moral and social problems they faced each day.
Mrs. Showalter served as editor of the magazine from 1933 through 1954. As she began the magazine, the United States was in the middle of the Depression. Eight years later, the country would find itself involved in World War II. And by 1950, it had entered the Korean War. From 1955-1967, Bettye Nichols served as editor.
During her tenure, Americans were dealing with the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Vietnam War.
In her farewell editorial, Mrs. Nichols wrote: 'This was a time of great change in the lives of women in the church Their spiritual growth and maturity was reflected in their writing. Women began to speak out "to other women" and share the freshness of God's Word in their daily living."
Ona Sweet Belknap was editor of CW from 1967-1973. Americans were still dealing with the Vietnam War and war protesters. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, and a man walked on the moon during her tenure.
When Mary Smith took over the publication in 1973, the Vietnam War was finally over. Americans were dealing with the decaying morals of the '70s as evidenced by the Watergate scandal and resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, the popularity of string bikinis, and Roe v. Wade.
In 1985, the Gospel Advocate Company began publishing the magazine, promising to adhere to Mrs. Showalter's dream, to publish a magazine "for women, written by women for the furtherance of spiritual growth, moral stability and social development."
Publisher Neil W. Anderson continues to make it his goal to present articles that are relevant to today's woman from a Christian perspective. Under the editorship of Sandra Humphrey, articles target women across the United States and around the world in all facets of life and at all levels of spiritual maturity.
Realizing that Christians face the same worldly temptations as non-Christians, CW has covered issues not often presented in Christian publications, wife abuse, abortion, child abuse, AIDS, extramarital affairs, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, drug abuse and the ever-increasing danger presented by the Internet.
In Mrs. Showalter's first editorial in October 1933, she wrote: "The purpose of this magazine is to create study. Never in the history of the world has adult education played as great a part in the lives of women. We hope to bring to you such articles as will promote education along these lines: spiritual, moral, social and physical development.
"We are admonished by Paul in the Word of God to teach the younger women. Some of our young women are older in knowledge and ability than those that are older in years. This should not be, but is true. We hope to create a new era in which this will not be the case. We hope to inform our women of today, so they will be prepared to fulfill this scripture in days to come."
Seventy years later, these words remain true. As Mrs. Nichols said in January 1955, "we are proud to have the opportunity to be associated in carrying on the only magazine printed for women by members of the church of Christ. It is our prayer that the magazine will continue growing and filling its purpose."
The Gospel Advocate hopes you will help Christian Woman celebrate during the next year. See the ad on the back cover for information about our special 70th anniversary celebration.
-Christian Woman, November/December, 2003 issue, pages 37,38
Just Between Ourselves
Have you ever thought how easy it is to see the mistakes in the other person? Have you ever thought what you would do under all circumstances if the job were left up to you?
Any person who has had any experience in trying to please the public knows in part what it would be like she tried to please the reading public. Many realize that the publication of religious papers is not a money making proposition, but it does involve a lot of hard work and worry.
In 1933, when I began the Christian Woman, my idea was and still is to get some message to the women of the home that will help them to be better wives and mothers. We have added articles of gospel teaching that they may learn and be able to teach others the way of salvation. The Bible commands this.
The fact that older women should teach the young how to rear their children and keep the home, teaching their young the way of truth, makes it necessary that they have some help. Maybe not so much help as encouragement. trust that through the years we have been helpful.
We realize that we do not have a magazine that is in the upper ranks in a literary sense and may not be the finest poetry but am sure if one was really interested, she could find many interesting things that could be applied to her life to make it more useful and acceptable to the Lord.
We like for our writers to use the free, easy way of writing, the way that is nearest to their hearts. We may make grammatical errors, but who does not? To the few who would criticize, we accept with appreciation, but there are hundreds who are so glad to have a friendly talk with some sister. That is what the Christian Woman stands for, heart to heart talks with our women about things that they want to know.
I do more of this work personally than you might imagine. It is very seldom that we have a critic write us but when we do we do not let it bother us as we are sure they do not understand just how much good the magazine is doing. To one who would find fault there are one thousand letters of commendation so we take courage and press on.
When we see how sin and vice are taking hold of so many people and how many church members have ceased to draw the line between the church and the world, it behooves us to do our best to teach that there is a difference and that sin will not enter the kingdom of God.
We know if we are free from sin we do have the promise but if there is sin in our lives we will be lost. It should grieve every soul that claims to be a member of the church so much that they will want to do the very best they can to help the other fellow.
When Jesus was here on earth, He went among the humble people speaking their language. We, the people of the church, are a humble people or should be. We want to reach others with the simple truth of the gospel as to how they should live after they have been added to the church. So let us take courage and do our very best always to present the way in love and simplicity.
-Winifred Mason Moore Showalter, founder of Christian Woman, was editor from 1933-1954. She died in 1956. This article appeared in the August 1956 issue of Christian Woman on pages 2-3. It was a reprint from the September 1949 issue, and then again in the November/December, 2003 issue.