Browse: All Collections Digital Content Subjects Creators Record Groups

Emma Richards Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence and Subject Files


Contact us about this collection

Emma Richards Papers, 1958-2007 | Mennonite Church USA Archives

By Colleen McFarland

Printer-friendly Printer-friendly | Email Us Contact Us About This Collection

Collection Overview

Title: Emma Richards Papers, 1958-2007Add to your cart.

ID: HM1/970

Primary Creator: Richards, Emma

Extent: 4.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: By series.

Date Acquired: 10/5//2010. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Mennonite women, Ordination, Richards, Emma, Richards, Joe, Women clergy

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Sermons, Video tapes

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Emma Richards papers are divided into two series:  Series 1, Correspondence and Subject Files, and Series 2, Sermons. The first series contains substantial information on Emma Richard's ordination process.

Biographical Note

Emma Richards was born in the late 1920s near Kokomo, Indiana.  She earned a B.A.  from Goshen College and a bachelor of theology from Goshen Biblical Seminary.  She taught speech at Bluffton College and served twelve years as a missionary in Japan with her husband, Joe Richards.

After their missionary service, Emma and Joe Richards moved to Lombard, Illinois.  Joe Richards served not only as a full time pastor to Lombard Mennonite Church, but also worked as an elementary educator.  When he was appointed principal of Glen Ellyn Elementary School, he could no longer serve as full-time pastor.  Several members of the Lombard Mennonite Church congregation petitioned the church council to consider licensing and ordaining Emma Richards to serve as co-pastor.

The Lombard Mennonite Church congregation supported unanimously a motion to make Emma Richards co-pastor.   The Lombard Mennonite Church then notified the Illinois Mennonite Conference of its actions, setting into motion a discernment process regarding the ordination of women.

In June 1973, Emma Richards was ordained to the Christian Ministry, thereby becoming the first woman ordained in the Mennonite Church and in the General Conference Mennonite Church.  

In 1991, Emma and Joe Richards left Lombard Mennonite Church and served as interim conference ministers for the Illinois Conference. They retired to Goshen, Indiana in 1996.

Subject/Index Terms

Mennonite women
Richards, Emma
Richards, Joe
Women clergy

Administrative Information

Repository: Mennonite Church USA Archives


The following materials were added to the 2011 accession:

12/1/1955, Melvin Gingerich, Acc. 620

5/16/1960, Joe Richards, Acc. 1081

8/12/2018, Janet Elaine Guthrie, Acc. 2018-001

Alternate Extent Statement: 6 archives boxes and 1 records carton

Access Restrictions: These materials are open to public research.

Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.

Acquisition Source: Emma Richards, Acc. 2011-35

Preferred Citation: Emma Richards Papers, 1958-2004.  HM1-970.  Mennonite Church USA Archives - Goshen.  Goshen, Indiana.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, 1970-1998],
[Series 2: Sermons, 1959-2004],

Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, 1970-1998Add to your cart.
Includes information about Emma Richards's ordination, her candidacy for the position of moderator-elect of the Mennonite Church, and the 25th anniversary of her ordination in 1998.  Also includes miscellaneous correspondence.  Researcher note: collection does not include folders numbered 1, 7 and 8 in ordination subject.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 25 Years Women's Ordination, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 2: 25 Years Women's Ordination: June 20-21, 1998, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 3: 25 Years Women's Ordination: June 20-21, 1998, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 4: 300 Years -- Mennonite Women in the New World, 1979-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 5: 300 Years -- Mennonite Women in the New World, 1979-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Council on Faith, Life and Strategy (General Board), 1991-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 7: General Board Moderator-Elect Correspondence, 1980-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 8: General Board Moderator-Elect Correspondence, 1984-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Jean King Collected Materials, 1972-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Letters, 1981-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Letters, 1982-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Letters, 1984-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Letters, 1986-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Ministry (Women), 1971-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Ministry File Pulled from "Publicity" and "Letters", 1973-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Miscellaneous: Family and Friends, Circa 1960-1990Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Miscellaneous Letters, Circa 1950-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Miscellaneous Ordination and Baptism, 1982-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Missionary Service in Japan, 1958-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Moderator Correspondence, 1987Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Ordination #2: Lombard Mennonite Church Early Actions, etc., 1971-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Ordination #3: Illinois Mennonite Conference Actions, 1972-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Ordination #4: Emma's Early Letters, 1972-1990Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Ordination #5: Letters for Ordination and Installation, Lombard Mennonite Church, 1971-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Ordination #6: Language etc., 1974-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Ordination #9: Emma's Early Items, etc., 1972-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Packet on Women in the Church's Mission and Ministry, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Portable Footstool Used by Emma Richards, Circa 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Sample Ordination Documents, 1971-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Speaking Engagements, 1974-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 30: TV Materials: Heritage of Faith '84-'85, 1984-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Women in Leadership Ministries (Mennonite Church), 1981-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Women Task Force, 1972-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Ivan Kauffmann Interview with Emma Richards re: Ordination, 2007Add to your cart.
VHS Tape

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, 1970-1998],
[Series 2: Sermons, 1959-2004],

Page Generated in: 0.219 seconds (using 294 queries).
Using 7.75MB of memory. (Peak of 7.87MB.)

Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-2.1
Copyright ©2012 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hosted by LibraryHost