Kootenay USCC Ladies Organization
History and Philosophy
Anna Petrovna Markova (daughter of Doukhobor leader Peter P. Verigin – Chistiakov) has played a large part in the early history of our ladies’ organization. Upon her arrival in Canada in 1960, she demonstrated a strong commitment to the USCC and in particular, to the ladies, youth and children. Our members are deeply indebted to Anna Markova for organizing and motivating ladies from all of our community locals to come together and learn from one another. Initially the ladies focused on the exchange of ideas that would contribute to a healthy and happy family life. To achieve these goals, they held spiritual and family unity discussions and participated in other practical activities such as quilting and the exchange of recipes for healthy diets.
Anna Markova helped build bridges within the Doukhobor community as well as the global community at large. Recognizing the abundance of life in Canada, she tried to motivate Canadian Doukhobors to contribute their strength and energy to those less fortunate, often making use of the Russian expression – “By one thread from the community, a shirt for the needy”. We fondly think of her as one of our earliest Canadian Doukhobor social activists for her inspirational work, organizing and encouraging our ladies to make blankets and various linen and woolen crafts to be given as gifts to the needy or for other worthwhile fund-raising purposes.
In her concern for the preservation of our Doukhobor heritage, Anna Markova supported our community in its effort to build a facility in which present and future generations could maintain and celebrate our Doukhobor culture. When the construction of the Brilliant Cultural Centre began, the ladies concentrated on raising funds to assist in the realization of this centre. Our Kootenay USCC Ladies Organization was formed at that time and a committee organized to coordinate fundraising events such as blanket sales, raffles, bake and lapsha sales, banquets, pyrahi frys, with the proceeds being directed to the construction of the Cultural Centre. These and other fundraising events and activities continue until this day, enabling our organization to make donations toward other USCC projects and activities, Verigin’s Memorial Park (flowers and student employment), local non-Doukhobor community organizations and services and various humanitarian and charitable causes.
In the last few years two new committees were organized under the umbrella of the ladies organization – the Catering Committee for catering Doukhobor banquets for internal and external community events, and the CIS group (Cultural Interpretative Society) whose quilting, sewing, crafting and valuable charity work continue to help preserve and maintain our culture while reaching out to our wider community.
Our organization is very grateful to Anna Markova for her vision and inspiration. We remember and appreciate all her effort and hard work and even though she is no longer with us, we feel her presence and spirit as we try to fulfill our common aspirations.
Objectives and Activities
- Host luncheons or dinners for visiting groups as requested
- Organize luncheons for internal U.S.C.C. events and conventions
- Spring and fall fundraising – pyrahi fry, craft or bake sales and tea socials.
- Organize luncheons for the May Youth Festival
- Organize a raffle for the May Youth Festival
- Hold fundraising activities for maintaining kitchen facilities.
- Provide Wedding Banquet services
- Offer Bread Sales held once a month by volunteers
- Offer Lapsha sales held once a month by volunteers
- Fulfill cleaning responsibilities for kitchen, pantry and kitchen entrance
The U.S.C.C. Kootenay Ladies Organization is primarily an organization of female members of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ. Members are encouraged to take an active part in activities. If they cannot participate actively, they are encouraged to make alternative donations in the form of food, baking, crafts or monetary contribution.
All members of the organization are required to serve at least three years on the Ladies Executive Committee. The committee consists of: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and four members. Eight ladies serve for a one year term – four beginning in January and four in June. Our Phoning Committee has four members. Our annual meeting is held in the third week of January and our semi-annual meeting in the third week of June.