A Prayer Circle
February 1886

A Prayer Circle

St. Louis, MO

“It all began with a seemingly insignificant prayer meeting in 1886.” That February, Sarah Matilda (Mattie) Hart Younkin gathered five other women in the basement of First Christian Church in St. Louis “to pray about the plight of the homeless and helpless.”

During their gatherings over that year, the women conceived as their “sole purpose the task of helping the helpless—to give a home to the homeless, to provide care for the sick, and comfort for the distressed.” The purpose of this new organization would be “to restore to the church the brotherly love and benevolence taught by Christ and practiced by the disciples in the early days of the church.” (Inasmuch, p21.)

These six women were the start of the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

“Vivid in my memory of the first steps in accomplishing this is the staunch character of Mrs. M.H. Younkin, the true founder of the work. Tirelessly she went up and down the landas much as a woman could in those days–preaching the gospel of help for the needy. From house to house, from church to church, day after day she went, urging cooperation in organizing for benevolent work.” –Landonia Hansbrough, NBA Co-Founder