The Church Periodical Club was founded in 1888 by Mary Ann Fargo (yes that Fargo) and a small group of women in the Parish Church of the Holy Communion in New York City. They began by sending bundles of church periodicals, prayer books, and Bibles via the Wells Fargo Stage Coach Line to clergy and laity, missionaries and Indians in the Dakotas, and the “far west”. Much of the early growth of the Church Periodical Club was due to the fostering care of the Women’s Auxiliary, now known as the Episcopal Church Women. This close relationship has continued through the years.

By 1892, the Church Periodical Club was active in 48 dioceses providing many kinds of printed materials and a national office was established. In 1920, the national church recognized the Church Periodical Club’s great missionary work and it became a cooperating agency. The commitment to supply theological and educational texts, audio and video tapes, and computer software has continued for over 100 years to promote religious and secular needs throughout the Anglican Communion. From the number of grant applications submitted each year to the Church Periodical Club National Books Fund and to the Miles of Pennies Fund, The Church Periodical Club is answering the needs of a worldwide ministry.

Each year a Sunday is designated as Church Periodical Club Sunday by the Presiding Bishop. Churches are asked to include special prayers for the Church Periodical Club ministry and an offering is taken for the support of the Church Periodical Club National Books Fund. Grants are made for books, magazines, audio and video materials and computer software. The specific materials are determined and purchased by the recipients. Materials may be religious or secular, but must be used within the mission of the Church.

The Miles of Pennies Fund was established in 1988 on the 100th anniversary of The Church Periodical Club. The Miles of Pennies Fund Committee awarded its first grants in 1991. The maximum grant given by Miles of Pennies is $844.80 which represents one mile of pennies. The grants serve the needs of children from kindergarten through high school wherever there is a need. Any organization, church or individual affiliated with the Anglican Communion may apply. For example: Christian Education Classes, Camps, VBS, Libraries, Tutor after school class, Happenings, Jr. DOK, Youth Ministry.

A description of the on-going or new program or project for children and its relationship to the church and/or community, including an approximate number and the ages of the children involved, determines the need. Grants may be used for books, workbooks, manuals, videos, CD’s or audio-visual materials and the shipping and handling costs of recycled books. Materials may be religious or secular but MUST be for children. (Pre-school thru High School Age)

Once a year the church designates a Sunday for the work of the Church Periodical Club. It uses a special liturgy and prayers. If you would like to know more or work with the ECW in the diocese of Los Angeles on this committee, please contact Martha Estes at president@ecwlosangeles.org.