All the Saints, All the Time: Honoring Deaconess Margaret Peppers

A Blessed Advent to all from the Episcopal Women’s History Project! In this issue of Timelines, we lift up Deaconess Margaret Peppers.

peppers

Deaconess Margaret Peppers. Photograph courtesy of L. Teresa DiBiase.

Deaconess Peppers, after a long and fruitful ministry in the Diocese of Olympia, first as a rural minister in less populated areas of western Washington, and subsequently as coordinator of Christian education and “women’s work” for two Japanese American congregations in the Seattle area, took a heroic step in 1941.

When the Executive Order came that forced Japanese Americans on the west coast to live behind barbed wire in internment camps, Peppers determined to go with her congregation of St. Peter’s, Seattle, to Minidoka, Idaho.  There, she served for 4 years as part of an ecumenical ministry to families whose lives had been overturned in the wartime hysteria.

minidoka_bancroft_library_UCLA_1

Image courtesy of the Conservation Fund’s Japanese-American Internment Camp Preservation Initiative: Minidoka, at http://www.conservationfund.org/places_we_protect/japanese_american_internment_camp_preservation_initiative/minidoka

At the same time, she led Sunday school for interned Episcopalian children and prepared confirmation classes.  As the only white Episcopalian ministering in any of the internment camps, Deaconess Peppers showed, by her actions even more than her words, that God had not abandoned those who were unjustly imprisoned in the name of freedom and democracy.

Blessings to L. Teresa Di Biase for this account and for her generous support of the All the Saints program. You can read more about Ms. Di Biase’s research into the life and ministry of Margaret Peppers here.

The start of the new church year is a great time to remind everyone of women you would like to remember in a special way.  Saints don’t have to be living in the church triumphant; they can still be here as part of the church militant.  Is there a woman or two who you would like to remember in our newsletter so that others could share in  your celebration of their life? Please consider supporting EWHP’s All the Saints, All the Time!

Let us hear about your saints.  Remember that all donations go to help fund the grants that EWHP gives to individuals and groups working on projects or papers related to women’s history. Contact Barbara Schlachter for more information on this fine program.

So, what do you think?