Fannie E. S. Heck, founding president of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) and second president of national WMU, serving alongside executive secretary Annie Armstrong, will be memorialized on August 25, commemorating the 100th anniversary of her death.
Just prior to Heck’s death in 1915, The Charlotte Observer called the Raleigh native “one of the best known women of the South in religious work.”
Millions of WMU members have served in domestic and overseas missions since the organization’s beginning. WMU has raised millions of dollars for Southern Baptist mission offerings.
During difficult times, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) and Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) leadership pled with WMU to encourage women to increase their giving and praying for missionaries so that they would not have to come home from the field, according to Catherine B. Allen’s book, A Century to Celebrate.
She led the same kind of support for state missions.
“Our mission to our state is not only that of the ideal Christian citizen,” she explains.
“Plant a church in North Carolina and you open a fountain that shall soon send out springs of blessings to the ends of the earth.”
Today’s Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina offering bears her name.
Heck was 24 years old when she became founding president of WMU-NC. Some six years later, she became president of the national WMU.
Heck was also the founding president of The Woman’s Club of Raleigh. An historical marker stands at her home on Blount Street in downtown Raleigh and there is a fountain at Meredith College (formerly known as Baptist Female University). Heck was asked to serve as the first “Lady Principal” of Baptist Female University, but declined saying she was devoted to missions.
For years, she wrote a column for the Biblical Recorder, in addition to preparing ongoing newsletters with prayer concerns for Southern Baptist missionaries. Her poetry and words of wisdom have lived long past her.
She once said on behalf of young people, “if you cannot leave your footprints on the sands of time, write your Master’s name on the granite of eternity.”
The special service, which is open to the public, is scheduled Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. at Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.
For additional information, contact the WMU-NC office at (919) 882-2344 or (866) 210-8602.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Irma Duke writes on behalf of the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina.)