May Friendship Day dates back to May 1933, when two independent groups planned luncheons to focus on “Child Health” and “Children of Migrant Families.” The first event was sponsored by the Women’s Council for Home Missions in New York City and the second one, called “Dedication Day,” was sponsored by the National Council of Federated Church Women in order to bring the group’s dream of unity into full expression in each local community. Under a variety of names, this event continued and expanded until 1939, when they merged under the National Council of Church Women, which called for an annual observance “to strengthen a growing sense of unity, the joy of Christian fellowship, and the power of Christianity in the day of need.” In May 1945, a few years after the founding of Church Women United, the celebration was formalized as May Fellowship Day. In 1999, the movement of Church Women United changed the name of the celebration to May Friendship Day, as we continue to celebrate unity in our journey toward wholeness in all communities.


Church Women United remember that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms… without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” (Excerpt taken from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written by the UN in 1948).

These words should be in the forefront of our minds as we support, work towards, and fight for the rights of all humans. This is the same message that Jesus gave while on earth. When He said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” He did not mean for us to love just some people, He truly meant for us to love everyone. This has been the message of CWU since our beginnings in 1943 and will continue to be one of the pillars that supports and drives our movement.


World Community Day began in 1943 from discussions at a meeting of denominational presidents and executive secretaries asking that a day be set aside in the fall for the study of peace by church women. Although many denominations were printing their own studies on the new world order, it was determined at this meeting that their unity would be strengthened on one day of united study.

World Community Day continues to emphasize peace but has been broadened to include justice, a vital partner of peace. The once clear categories of “domestic” and “foreign” were consciously blurred so the global scope of the wide range of problems could be emphasized on World Community Day.