Edith was a devoted member of both the Presbyterian and Uniting Church in the Yarram Parish. Before her marriage to Angus Kay, Edith was a member of the Anglican Church in the Yarram area. Her marriage to Angus Dougal Kay in the Presbyterian Church Yarram on 4 September 1943 was not appreciated by the Anglican minister in Yarram at that time. But this was the beginning of Edith’s dedicated service to her adopted church.
Edith’s first official church duty was as secretary of the Binginwarri PWMU. This group was formed in 1949 when Edith’s brother-in-law, Rev Colin Kay went as a missionary to Southern India. Edith served a total of 65 years as secretary of the PWMU and then UCAF at Binginwarri. Edith kept very detailed minutes of every meeting of both the PWMU and UCAF meetings. These are kept as a historical record for our Binginwarri UCAF group. Edith was acknowledged for her 60 years effort as secretary of this group in 2009.
Edith kept meticulous details of every meeting as secretary and treasurer of the St Johns church committee. She took over this role after her husband Angus died in 1970 and continued on after church union in June 1976. In 2009 it was decided to amalgamate the church finances with St Andrew’s Yarram. The ledger books and minute books have all been kept as a historical record by Edith.
Edith became one of the first of two female elders in the Presbyterian Church in1974 in the Yarram Parish. Edith was elected as elder by the Binginwarri congregation and Beryl McLean elected as elder by the St Andrew’s Yarram congregation. Edith served as a Yarram Parish representative to the Gippsland presbytery before union.
During the 1980s Edith and Beryl McLean, both keen handicraft women, saw a need for a church craft group. They began a fortnightly craft group on a Thursday at St Andrew’s hall Yarram. These sessions began at midday and finished at 3.00 pm, in time for Edith to get home to milk the cows. Many local women have enjoyed the fellowship and creative activities of this group which still meets on the first Thursday once a month at St Andrews hall.
Edith became an accredited lay preacher after the Uniting Church was born in 1977. Edith was inspired by Mrs Elise Wood of Devon North and the wonderful services she conducted. Mrs Wood became her mentor. Edith would preach throughout the parish for many years and conducted her last service at Binginwarri during 2011.
During the 1990s Edith commenced Know Your Bible (KYB) studies. She became a KYB leader and was treasurer of the South Gippsland Christian Women’s Communication International (CWCI) for many years. Edith began KYB studies once a week on a Thursday morning at at St Andrew’s church hall Yarram. Edith would be up early to help milk the cows, go to Yarram for KYB then on the fortnightly craft group sessions. If they finished a little early she had time to shop before coming home to assist with milking the cows in the late afternoon. This KYB group held its meetings at Edith’s home weekly on a Thursday during 2011.
In 2006 Edith was encouraged to start another KYB group at her home in Binginwarri. This group met weekly on a Monday and continued until 2011.During the 1970s Edith also became an accredited Christian religious education teacher. Edith taught CRE at the Binginwarri primary school until the school closed in 1993.
Therefore when Edith was aged 90 she was leading two KYB groups, elder at St John’s Binginwarri, Secretary of UCAF Binginwarri, and convenor of a monthly craft group. Edith died on 3 February 2013 aged 92 years. Her funeral service on 8 February was held in the same church she had been married, St Andrew’s Yarram. Family, friends, church and community members attended to pay tribute to a faithful servant of her Lord.
Written by Ann Kay (daughter-in-law of Edith),Elder and UCAF president at St John’s church Binginwarri.