Frances W. Alguire, b. 1927, was the first woman and first layperson to chair the 150-member World Methodist Council. She was born in a farmhouse in Michigan and attended the local Methodist Episcopal church from childhood. She was a registered nurse by profession and active in both the West Michigan and Northern Illinois annual conferences. She served on the board of trustees and as an associate in seminary relations at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.; served as a director for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries; and served as chairwoman of the Commission on the General Conference. She represented Northern Illinois when the General Conference voted to establish GCSRW. In 1996, when she took the reins of the World Methodist Council after many years’ involvement, a woman taking note of her small stature supposedly remarked,” You’re too little for such a big job.” Alguire reportedly responded, “I’m the same size as John Wesley.” Alguire is now a member of University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she is the past president of the local UMW. “She certainly is among the finest of God's servants and a trailblazing woman in our church,” said Dale Flexner, the current UMW president.
Want to know more?
A profile of her by United Methodist News Service
The United Methodist Council's website