It's Easter time! And like many Christians worldwide, I anticipate celebrating the resurrection of Christ with my church family. Christ's victory over death is the foundation of the Christian faith, and it is a celebratory time for me personally and as a member of Restoration Church. Restoration Church collects a special offering for North American Missionaries during the Easter season. Known as the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, the money collected is used to support missionaries sharing the Gospel throughout North America. The woman whose name the offering bears was many things to many people. However, the legacy she most exemplifies is advocacy. Whether lovingly interacting with neighbors in her city or speaking on behalf of unreached people groups, Annie Armstrong was a voice for the stories of those whom Christ loved but the world overlooked. Faith in action sums up the life of Annie Armstrong.
Born July 11, 1850 in Baltimore, Maryland, Annie came from a long line of prominent Baptist members and preachers. Her great-great-grandfather, Henry Sater, established the first Baptist church in Maryland. From an early age Annie was involved in church. She would often accompany her mother to the missionary meetings of “Woman’s Mission to Woman," where she learned the importance of giving and praying for missions.1 These lessons learned at an early age would be the lessons she acted upon later in life.
Baptized at age 19, Annie embarked on a Christian journey that daily displayed the love of Christ. "Ms. Annie" taught in the children's ministry in her local congregation for 50 years. Known as the Infant or Primary Department during Annie's time, she dedicated herself to sharing the good news of Jesus with the children in her church family. Annie’s effort to minister was not only expressed in her local congregation. Throughout her life, she ministered to those living in Baltimore including mothers, immigrants, the underprivileged, the sick, African Americans, Native Americans, and her Jewish neighbors. She founded the "Ladies Bay View Mission," which cared for the poor in Baltimore. She was also instrumental in the “Woman’s Home Missions Society of Maryland," which established a school for Native Americans and supported local Chinese immigrants. Not limiting the love of Christ to the City of Baltimore, Ms. Annie’s organizations supported mission work in both New Orleans and Cuba.2
Described as a “tall, stately, out-spoken, strong-willed leader,” Annie loved her neighbor, exemplifying Christ’s words to love your neighbor as yourself.3 As she ministered in her community, Annie tirelessly worked on behalf of missionaries worldwide, sharing their stories and raising support. Annie wrote countless letters in her passion for working within the Southern Baptist denomination and uniting Christ-followers in missionary efforts. She visited numerous congregations to share Gospel effort stories and raise support for missionaries world-wide. While working on behalf of her friend Lottie Moon, Annie raised enough money to send Lottie three additional missionaries to continue Lottie’s gospel efforts in China. Our annual Lottie Moon Christmas offering, which raised over $159 million in 2019-2020 alone,4 is the current reality of Annie’s initial fund-raising efforts on behalf of Lottie so many years ago.
Annie Armstrong was a bold missions advocate throughout her entire life. In 1934, the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board) honored Annie by naming the annual Easter offering after her. Since that time, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering has raised over $2 billion to support missionaries in North America.
Annie Armstrong was an advocate for those who needed to be heard. She was the spokesperson for countless missionaries and marginalized people groups. She used her God-given gifting to build up the Church and share the love of Christ. She was a teacher, a leader, a friend, and an advocate. Her legacy proves that God can and will use anyone who passionately loves Jesus Christ and tirelessly works on behalf of others. Ms. Annie genuinely loved God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength and loved her neighbor as herself. As we celebrate Easter together and give above and beyond to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, let us, too, like Annie, love God and our neighbor.
To give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering click the link below.