Prominent US Leader of Women’s Mission
By the 1960s, Sadie Wilson Tillman, who was born in Tennessee, and grew up a member of a small rural church near Lewisburg, had become one of the nation’s most prominent church women. From 1924 to 1927, she was Director of Christian Education at Laura Haygood Normal School, in Soochow, China, and from 1927 to 1934, Associate Secretary of Missionary Education of the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. As a member of the Woman’s Division of Christian Service, she was vice-president and chair of the Department of Christian Social Relations from 1952 to 1956. During this time, the first Charter of Racial Policies was adopted. As president of the Woman’s Division from 1956 to 1964, Mrs. Tillman presided over the Division’s efforts to implement the Charter and she was a prime mover in the Division’s decision to fund the building of a Church Center at the United Nations. The chapel at the Church Center was named the Sadie Tillman Chapel. She was also president of the Tennessee Conference Woman’s Society (1950-53), a delegate to the World Council of Churches’ Assembly in 1961, and a member of its Central Committee (1961-1968), vice-president of the National Council of Churches (1960-63), and a vice president of the Board of Directors of Scarritt College in Nashville. The History and Archive Room at Scarritt is named in her honor.
Taken from They Went Out Not Knowing… An Encyclopedia of One Hundred Women in Mission (New York: Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1986). Used with permission of United Methodist Women.