Lois Dauway (1948-2014) was a community organizer, promoter of ecumenicism and a force for social justice. She was raised in Massachusetts and was a member of the Black Community Developers program, though which she was instrumental in supporting the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools system in the 1970s. That early experience helped to shape her life’s work for social justice, particularly racial inclusiveness and gender equity. She had deep Methodist roots and served several positions of leadership in The United Methodist Church. For a time she helped recruit and then mentor missionaries for the General Board of Global Ministries, and she continued to mentor countless young people over the years. She served as associate general secretary in the Women’s Division of the GBGM, which at that time was the administrative body of United Methodist Women. She headed the Women’s Division’s social action section and served as an interim CEO. She represented the UMC as a delegate to the World Council of Churches Assembly and WCC Central Committee for more than 15 years. Dauway also worked as Associate for Inclusiveness and Justice of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. In 2009, the NCC’s General Assembly and Church World Service honored her with the J. Irwin Miller award, the highest honor for a lay leader in the church, for her “life-long commitment to racial and gender inclusiveness in church and larger society.” In 2011, she was cited by the NCC “Circles of Names” campaign honoring women who have mentored church leaders. She was known for her powerful calmness in responding to those who disagreed with her, treating their views with dignity and respect even as she educated them on her viewpoint. Dauway regularly participated in General Conferences and served on the GCSRW board from 1997 to 2004.
Want to know more?
Read the tribute written by Kelley C. Martini, former communications director for the Women’s Division
See her picture, next to President Obama’s, on a 2010 Black History Month poster honoring persons of color who made significant contributions to church and society
Her obituary on UMW’s website
(Photo by Paul Jeffrey, United Methodist Women)