On March 10, 1887, the State of Missouri granted a charter to The Benevolent Association of the Christian Church. The charter had been signed on March 2 by Mrs. E.D. Hodgen as President, Mrs. O.C. Shedd as Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Donie P. Hansbrough as Recording Secretary, and Mrs. G.P. Wiggin as Treasurer. A young Disciple lawyer named Lee Grant handled the legal work and would later be elected Treasurer and General Counsel. Judith Garrison was General Vice President; Mrs. Wheeldon, Mrs. O.B. Harris, Mrs. S.M. McCormack, and Mrs. J.E. Cash served as Vice Presidents representing the four major St. Louis Christian Churches. Sarah Matilda Hart Younkin was elected Missionary and Solicitor. Several of these leaders would continue to serve for the next 30-50 years.
In the beginning, Donie Hansbrough wrote: “There was not a cent in the treasury except as it was paid in for annual membership dues, and at that time the membership did not exceed a score. It was decided that annual dues should be $1.00 and life membership $25, to be paid in $5.00 installments, if preferred.” Membership in the Association grew from “a score” in 1887 to 72 in 1888. (Inasmuch, p27-28.)