Sallie Bailey Jones

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1869-1943

Sallie Bailey was born in Greensville County, VA on January 29, 1869. She was lucky to grow up in a Christian home with four brothers, where her parents set the example for Christian service. When Sallie was nine years old, her father, Mr. C.T. Bailey, bought the Biblical Recorder and moved his family to Raleigh.  She and her family became active in First Baptist Church in Raleigh. These decisions put Mr. Bailey in a position that would later facilitate Sallie’s involvement in the organization and early years of WMU NC.

As a child, Sallie enjoyed reading more than anything else. Throughout her life, she never learned to cook or to drive, but she had multiple other talents and hobbies including sewing, embroidery, needlepoint, and gardening.

As a teenager at First Baptist Church in Raleigh, Sallie formed a close relationship with a dedicated young woman named Fannie Heck. The two of them participated in ministry together, going into a neglected area of Raleigh and working with the children of the community. In 1886, Dr. Theodore Whitfield, pastor of First Baptist Church, New Bern, and Vice President of the Foreign Mission Board, talked with Sallie’s father about the need for a new missions organization led by women. When Fannie Heck was appointed as the chairman of the newly formed Women’s Central Committee of Missions, she suggested that Sallie serve as the corresponding secretary. Sallie’s friendship with Fannie and her desire to please her father, who also wanted her to serve on the Committee, led her to accept the position. She was only 16 years old.

When Sallie was 19, she married Wesley Norwood Jones, a popular attorney and faithful member of First Baptist Church in Raleigh. She and her husband eventually had three children and Sallie dedicated herself to duties at home. However, she stayed involved in ministry, serving at her church as a Sunday school teacher for women. She also continued to support her friend Fannie Heck after Miss Heck became president of the newly organized Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina by serving as a member of the Central Committee (now called the Executive Committee). Sallie remained a member of the Central Committee until her death.

In 1900, Sallie was elected as corresponding secretary-treasurer for WMU NC, and served in that capacity until 1907. When Fannie Heck passed away in 1915, Sallie took over the position of president, serving until 1936. After her resignation, she was elected president emeritus for life. She died on November 25, 1943.

Today, Mrs. Jones’ contributions to WMU NC are evident in many areas. The materials that WMU NC creates to help Christians pray, study, give, and take part in “personal service” are directly linked to Sallie’s passions and vision for WMU. She also set the example for supporting the associational model of WMU NC, doing everything she could to encourage the work of individual associations throughout the state. For several years at the Annual Meeting, she even awarded a hand-embroidered banner to the association that had made the most progress throughout the course of the year.

Sallie Jones dedicated over fifty years to serving God through WMU NC. To her, the organization was not just something to do, but a way of life. Her example is a challenge to us to make the Great Commission our lifelong passion.