HISTORY OF THE CHURCH USHERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK STATE
In 1956 our State Association was organized. The first State Convention of the Church Ushers Association of New York State was held Friday and Saturday, June 14-15, 1957 at the Calvary Baptist Church, 539 William Street, Buffalo, New York, Rev. Peter Trammell, Pastor; Mr. Ben Washington, State President. At this convention the Junior Department was organized. The First President was Mr. Charles Jennings of Buffalo and the First Supervisor was Mrs. Elizabeth Stevens of Brooklyn.
The Credentials Committee reported, Brooklyn: 36 delegates, 1 delegate at large, 21 churches represented and 9 Juniors; Buffalo: 46 delegates, 3 delegates at large, 13 churches represented and 6 Juniors; a total of 127 delegates and 34 churches.
We entertained the National United Church Ushers Convention in 1957 in Brooklyn, New York and again in 1976 in Manhattan, New York. Henry Ballard served as Senior National President (1951-1959. Filmore F. Gregory served as Senior National President (2009-2012).
The Young Adult Department was organized in 1969; the first President was Miriam Cherry. The first counselor was Mrs. Elizabeth Stevens.
In 1977, the Queens Unit was organized under the leadership of our fifth President, John L. Everett, Jr. Also our State Chorus was organized; it was named after Mr. Everett, The John L. Everett Jr. State Chorus.
In 1980, under the leadership of Past President Robert Green, our State began to branch out to various cities, Binghamton and Syracuse.
In 1983, under the leadership of President Deacon Jimmie Underwood, Jr., and the efforts of our State Organizer, Bro. John L. Everett, Jr., the Syracuse Unit became a part of the Church Ushers Association of New York State, Inc.
Our membership tripled in the first 39 years under the dynamic leadership of our seven State Presidents: the late Mr. Ben Washington; Mr. Waverly Jones; Mr. Ivan Duncan; Mr. James Blue; Mr. John L. Everett, Jr.; Mr. Robert Green and Deacon Jimmie Underwood, Jr.
In 1986, electing its first Female President, Mrs. SUSIE MAE BEDDEN, we did The 8th Wonder of New York State. Mrs. Susie Mae Bedden, the first female President and the 8th President, instituted the Gleaners, as a fund raising system for three charities; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sickle Cell and Diabetes Foundation. Mrs. Bedden also presented a donation to Upstate and Downstate Chorus of New York State through this fund raising event.
New York State elected Sister Alberta Jones to our highest office in 1990, as our 9th President. Our second female President brought with her 12 years of experience as Chairperson of our Board of Directors. She also has the prestigious title of National Young Adult President Emeritus.
In 1994, this organization selected a dedicated young man, Brother Oneal Fields, as our 10th President. We looked forward to his positive influences as we prepared to enter the 21st Century.
New York State elected, Sister Patricia D. Hughes as the 11th State President in 1998. She formerly served as Third, Second and First Vice President for New York State. Patricia D. Hughes also served as Chairperson for the Public Relations Department from 1990 to 1994; and was successful in establishing New York State with the news media in each convention city visited. In 2000, President Hughes recommended that the Welcome Program be named the “Susie Mae Bedden Welcome Program”.
In 2002, New York State elected Sister L. E. Tina Barnes as the 12th State President. She served the State as Fourth, Third, Second and First Vice President. She had served as our State, Regional and National Education Chairperson; State, Regional and National Supervisor of our Junior & Young People Departments. Sister Barnes brought with her a vast amount of knowledge to share with our State.
In 2006, New York State elected Sister Luretha A. Daniels as the 13th State President. She served the State as Fourth, Second and First Vice President.
In 2010, New York State elected Sister W. Ruth Beckham as its 14th State President; after serving as New York States Third, Second and First Vice President. Under her leadership she brought a spirit of “Unity” to the State. She helped along with the Alumni Department bring forth 1st Place New York States National Alumni Book of Seven in 2010 and again in 2013. Under her tutelage came the Men's Fellowship, Training and Development, 1st Place in donations to the Haiti Relief Fund, sponsored by NUCUAA, 1st Place in RE Harshaw Foundation Fund Patron Fundraiser, and to her credit two Eastern Regional Breakfast Recognition Honorees, Jacquelyn Mock (2012) and Linda Prince Roberts (2014).
On May 16, 2014 New York State elected, Sister Betty R. Butler as the 15th State President. She formerly served as Corresponding Secretary, Assistant and Recording Secretary and Financial Secretary. In addition to serving as a State Officer, she previously served as Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Budget & Finance Chairperson in the Eastern Region. In the National United Church Ushers Association of America, Inc. (NUCUAA) she served as Assistant Financial Secretary, Financial Secretary, Nominating Committee Member and six years on the National Board of Directors (2008-2014) three years as National Board Chairman. She was the first female from New York State to serve on the National Board of Directors. During her tenure on the National Board of Directors she served with two National Presidents: Filmore F. Gregory (NY) and Harold E. Hester, Jr. (GA). One of her proudest moments while serving as National Board Chairman was when the Board voted to have the 2017 National Convention held in Rochester, NY, the first National Convention in New York State since 1976. Her vision was to organize other cities, increase membership, improve attendance in all three Departments at State Conventions, and Memorial Service Weekends; produce a Policy & Procedure guideline booklet for new officers, and also prepare a Request For Proposal (RFP) to send to hotels and Convention Visitors Bureaus throughout New York State in an effort to broaden our choices of locations for State Conventions. Additionally, promote teamwork, encourage each officer to embrace technology, promote stronger relationships between the Units and also use Free Conferencing to communicate frequently with Unit Presidents, State Officers and Delegates. oversee setting up a New York State Website, and also utilize the Social Media to connect with delegates and keep them abreast on business and activities in New York State, Eastern Region and the National Organization.