Who was Lula? We ask that question a lot this time of year at FBG! You may have heard the name Lula or even “met” Lula during a children’s sermon in recent years. But, do you know who Lula Whilden was and why we collect our church’s annual missions offering in her name? I share some highlights below. Many thanks to FBG member Louise Stanford who researched Lula and led the way in helping reshape our church’s offering campaign in 2011.
From Louise Stanford:
The Lula Whilden World Missions Offering, formerly known as Global Missions, is named in honor of an early member of First Baptist, Miss Lula Whilden. Born to missions-minded parents in Camden, SC, in 1846, Miss Whilden traveled to China with her family when she was two years old. Her mother died two years later, and the family had to return to the US. As a teenager living in South Carolina, she committed her life to full-time missionary service. Her mother had often prayed that her children’s lives would be spent in ministry on the foreign field, and Lula’s heart was moved by the prayers of her mother. Church records show that Miss Whilden joined First Baptist Greenville on April 4, 1868, and stayed until 1872 when she went to Canton, China. After graduating from Greenville Female College (now Furman University) in 1870 and while a member of First Baptist, Miss Whilden was appointed the first single career missionary by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. She preceded (Baptist missionary) Lottie Moon by a full year in China.