The Reverend Dr Elizabeth Joyce Smith, AM “for significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia, and to liturgical scholarship”.

Elizabeth’s honour is so well deserved and it’s a pleasure when we can say ‘I was there’. Elizabeth was one of many in MOW in Melbourne and nationally who kept us going with her liturgies, words and music for all occasions from sorrow to rejoicing (and sometimes back again!). Her badge machine ran hot with her messages ‘God is not a boy’s name’, ‘Make eucharist not scones’ and so forth. What with her gifts and those of Janet Nelson, Linda Walter and others we had ample food for the journey in drought years.

Elizabeth Smith Badges
A selection of Elizabeth Smith’s badges

Elizabeth’s first collection of hymns was published with the financial assistance of the good people of St Stephen’s Mount Waverley where she was curate. Morna Sturrock, a parishioner there, was immensely proud of Elizabeth.

Here are some memorabilia. Both of these images were published in ‘Preachers Prophets and Heretics’ (Lindsay and Scarfe, 2012). Elizabeth has a fine chapter in the collection, ’Sexism in Song to Lyrics of Liberation: Creative hymnody’, and Janet Nelson’s essay, ’The good news in our own language: Re-visioning liturgy,’ is the perfect companion piece.

This image, taken by Elaine Lindsay, shows Elizabeth assisted by pianist Jenny Lawrence leading the MOW conference in Adelaide in 1990 in song from her collection. I can still remember how exciting it was as we all sang her words to familiar tunes.


Elizabeth Smith

This one is the cover of the MOW Melbourne booklet on inclusive language that we distributed in 1986. The art work was done by Elizabeth Nelson, Janet’s gifted 13 year old daughter now a published historian and recognised artist. I think Elizabeth S and I wrote the text and together hit upon that wonderful title from the BCP which showed clearly that MOW was not a bunch of mad heathen radicals!


Elizabeth Nelson contribution now a published historian and recognised artist

Elizabeth has given her gifts to MOW, her parishioners, people in her community and the wider church. We thank her and say ‘Hooray for Elizabeth!’ Janet Scarfe, Past President MOW
Others connected with MOW and/or who have participated in the advancement of women in the church have previously been recognised and awarded Australian honours for their contributions to the church and community. They include

Patricia Brennan AM (1993), Muriel Porter OAM (2002), Alan Nichols AM (2006), Denise Nichols OAM, Lu Piper OAM (2012), Kay Goldsworthy AO (2017).

The Editor welcomes any revision/update to this list


Warmest congratulations to Elizabeth Smith: – not to mention her wonderful musical contributions to MOW conferences and celebrations. Great news.
Elaine Lindsay, Sydney MOW Secretary

Great news…what a way to start our new website. Judy Little, Sydney

What a wonderful person and occasion to celebrate on the website!
Hooray, indeed. I hope we can continue quotes from Elizabeth’s literary genius and clarity, to enliven those of us less fortunate than the ‘I was there’ group. ‘God is not a boy’s name’ is wonderful. Congratulations! Alice Oppen, Sydney

Hear, hear; so pleasing to learn of that! In the days we had conferences we sang Elizabeth’s songs lustily together I recall. I remember the parish of Bentleigh days (where Elizabeth was the priest and I was at Berwick) when we first got to sing them. And in Maldon we gained much from using that beaut resources book week by week – thank you, Elizabeth.
Grace and peace, all – Julia Nutting

What a delight to read of your wonderful award! An honour truly deserved. Congratulations! Elizabeth, whenever we use your hymns at All Saints’ Newtown my spirits soar, and I never miss a chance to read your wonderful and entirely original sermons. Thank you. My warmest greetings to you, and to all the other MOW friends. Indeed, hooray for Elizabeth. Much love, Janet Nelson, Geelong

This is indeed great news!!! Congratulations!!!!!! Kathleen Toal, Briar Hill, Melbourne. MOW Treasurer

Delighted to hear of your award, so well deserved.
You are indeed a vital part of MOW history making. We certainly couldn’t forget you. Well done! Gwenneth Roberts, Brisbane

Wow! Elizabeth, this is wonderful. Congratulations. Thank you for your generous and life-giving work. Lesley McLean, MOW President, Adelaide

Congratulations, Elizabeth. It is timely and well deserved. Sending love and blessings, Sue Emeleus.

Congratulations Elizabeth, wonderful news, well deserved! I have so enjoyed singing your hymns; inclusive language is very important to me, and your theological/spiritual perspective so refreshing and life-giving. God’s peace be with you, Pirrial Clift, Kinglake, Past President MOW

I chaired Elizabeth’s first field committee when she was a theological student in 1985 and we saw and heard her first tentative offerings then. We wanted more and we got it. Such lovely news.
Blessings, Susan Sandford Bendigo, Past President MOW

I add my congratulations and thanks to Elizabeth Smith AM for all Elizabeth has done, and no doubt is continuing to do, to support and encourage women to seek full participation in every aspect of ministry and the life of the Anglican church in Australia. It made a difference in the past and continues to make a difference now.
There are five hymns with Elizabeth’s words in our hymn book, Together in Song.
I will ask our rector to close Sunday’s service with 687 God gives us a future.
The first verse is worth re-reading now: (Camberwell 65.65 D)
God gives us a future,
daring us to go
into dreams and dangers
on a path unknown.
We will face tomorrow
in the Spirit’s power,
we will let God change us,
for new life starts now.

Jeannette McHugh, Canberra, Past President MOW