In The Order of the Daughters of the King (DOK), members pledge themselves to lifelong prayer, service and evangelism, with support from Daughters worldwide.
DOK in the Diocese of Central Florida fulfilled its promises in a grand way in 2017, recently collecting donations of more than $11,000 for its outreach project: Days for Girls – the largest collection ever by the Order, according to DOK diocesan president Barbara Spencer. The staggering donation was one of many subjects discussed at the DOK’s Central Florida Fall Assembly held in September at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Crystal River.
“The money donated is used to buy materials to make washable feminine hygiene kits for girls in Third World countries,” Spencer said.
According to the Days for Girls website, the organization’s aim is to develop a freer, respectful and educated world by supplying access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education. To date, Days for Girls has helped more than 800,000 women and girls in a movement that reaches many corners of the globe.
DOK of Central Florida members did their part by presenting a check to the Southeast coordinator, Charlene Jespersen. “Each year, several projects are nominated and are voted on by the delegates to Fall Assembly,” Spencer said. “This year, the Mali Medical Mission was selected. All chapters donate money. Offerings come from our quarterly Masses at our diocesan board meetings as well. Individual Daughters also send in donations. Since fundraising is not allowed by our bylaws, all monies collected are from donations, a major distinction from other groups within the church.”
The selection of the Mali Medical Mission was one of many agenda items at the 2017 Fall Assembly at St. Anne’s, located in the Northwest Deanery. The host church is selected annually from a rotation by deaneries, Spencer said.
A large crowd of 110 Daughters and guests attended the Fall Assembly, with Bishop Greg Brewer giving an inspiring homily and celebrating Mass, Spencer said.
Additionally, The Bishop’s Cross was presented to Linda Anselmini from Trinity Episcopal in Vero Beach. “The Daughter receiving it is selected by a drawing by the bishop,” Spencer said. “Each chapter, after prayerful consideration, selects a name to be submitted.”
According to the DOK’s Central Florida website, Daughters pray for the Holy Spirit to intercede before the name of the recipient is drawn. The Daughter who is selected wears the cross for a year until the next Fall Assembly.
This year’s Fall Assembly also featured guest speaker Deacon Shirley Johnson, who spoke on the history of the Book of Common Prayer. Also, since 2017 is a triennial year, new officers were elected and will assume office at the 2018 Fall Assembly. Elected were Sharon Murbarger, president; Dr. Karen Clark, first vice president; Nancy Kelly, second vice president; Barbara Bradley, recording secretary; Terry Deer, corresponding secretary; Susan McIlrath, treasurer; and the Rev. Bill Smith, chaplain (appointed).
The new officers are part of a storied tradition here in Central Florida. Spencer said the Order has been in Florida for 92 years and currently has 1,083 members. Approximately 25,000 Daughters are involved worldwide.
“The Diocesan Order meets quarterly for Mass and to discuss pertinent matters,” Spencer said. “These meetings are hosted by different deaneries so as to spread out the traveling. We also have deanery meetings with a Mass and guest speaker. Daughters meet frequently for prayer within their parish chapters.”
The DOK Central Florida’s annual Spring Retreat is held at the Canterbury Retreat & Conference Center in Oviedo. “We have a guest speaker and a Memorial Mass for our departed Daughters from the past year,” Spencer said. “This is also well-attended, as being in community with other Daughters is very important.
“Our Order holds strong to prayer (Bishop Brewer calls us his prayer warriors), service and evangelism,” Spencer went on to say. “The last line of our motto says: ‘Lord, what will you have me do?’ As diocesan president, I have been blessed to be able to travel all over the diocese attending admission services for new Daughters and instituting new senior and junior chapters. Meeting our sisters from all over the diocese is a blessing beyond words. May our Lord grant me the ability to continue His work wherever I am.”