MARGARET LACKEY AND THE STATE MISSION OFFERING
Margaret McRae Lackey was born in Copiah County, Mississippi, on October 24,1858, to James and Elizabeth Lackey. She was the fifth of nine children. Upon graduation from Hillman College in Clinton, she taught in several county schools and at Lea Female College in Summit. Margaret later returned to Clinton so she could reconnect with her alma mater, Hillman College.
Margaret actively stressed the values of women’s mission organizations in Baptist churches. She
loved learning about missions and taught the young children in her church to love missions as well. She was active in the Mississippi Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), and her name appeared frequently in annual WMU meeting procedures.
In 1912, Miss Lackey was employed as the first salaried corresponding secretary of Mississippi WMU. Brilliant in intellectual gifts and consecrated to the Master’s service, she entered eagerly into the work. Funds were scarce during those early days. The yearly budget for Mississippi WMU was $900. Margaret received a salary of $50 per month and $25 per month for “running expenses of the work.”
When Margaret assumed the duties of Corresponding Secretary, she had a vision of what might be accomplished through more organized efforts of the women of the state. She likewise had faith in the part women played in kingdom work. With that vision and that faith, she well served Mississippi WMU and missions for nearly nineteen years. ln December of 1930, at the age of seventy-two, she retired.
In retirement, Margaret was associated with Mississippi Baptist Hospital (now Mississippi Baptist Medical Center) in Jackson for more than 15 years. It was said of her that she spoke words of cheer to the sick, consoled the suffering, prayed for the dying, and “made for herself a place in the daily life of the institution that only a person with a great soul can fill.” Margaret Lackey died and was buried in June of 1948, just a few days before her 90th birthday. During
her funeral, the flags over the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson and Jackson City Hall were flown at half-mast to honor her life of service.
The offering, which bears Miss Lackey’s name, began in 1903. It was at that time the Mississippi WMU set aside an annual day in the interest of state missions. The purpose of the emphasis was to “familiarize women with the conditions of our state – social, racial, moral, and religious.” In 1917, the State Missions Day became the Week of Prayer for State Missions. ln 1935, five years after her retirement, the offering was given the name, “Margaret Lackey State Mission Offering,” to honor the one who had led WMU so valiantly.
The offering has expanded in ways Miss Lackey would approve. The first state mission offering received in 1903 was $294.38. In 2015, the amount given to the Margaret Lackey Offering for State Missions was $2,154,549. The offering has expanded in its outreach, funding ministries in our own backyard as well as sending Mississippians throughout the world for Christ. The offering sustains ministries such as church planting, children’s camps, and missionary mobilization. The offering trains and mobilizes volunteers in disaster relief, criminal justice, literacy, and international outreach. The offering adds to and works hand-in-hand with the evangelistic and benevolent ministries funded through the Cooperative Program.