Four married couples were accepted for the Work and their names appear on the 1905 Workers List, the earliest list found todate. They were:
- 1902 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Elliott, no children.
- 1903 Mr. and Mrs. William (Bill) Carroll, one daughter, May, born in 1901.
- 1903 Mr. and Mrs. Wilson McClung, no children.
- 1905 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Betty, three sons.
Two other married couples (Dicksons and Downies) entered the Work in 1905 but are not shown on the 1905 Workers List.
Over the years, at least 50 married couples were in the Work at various times, but they were the exception rather than the rule. For a time, there was no clear, consistent policy regarding married Workers being allowed to enter the Work. Most likely, Irvine reviewed them on a case-by-case basis. After Irvine left the Work in 1914, permission appeared to be left up to the Regional Overseers.
Tracing the married Workers on Workers Lists shows they preached together most of the time, but not always, and often not at first. Some started out preaching as a married pair. Others married after they were in the Work, such as Robert and Maude Graham, Erne and Finney Punke, George and Ella Johnson, Bob and Martha Smith, Joe and Grace Brown, and Dave and Emily Christie.
Without obtaining prior permission, Dave Christie married Sister Worker Emily Wilson in 1923. Their Overseer and cousin, Jack Carroll, allowed them to remain in the Work, provided they went to Hawaii, where no Workers had ever preached. Carroll’s blessing on the Christies’ marriage appeared to have a rippling effect for the three following years.
Read more about Christies on Telling the Truth website.
1962. Demise of Married Workers. Martin and Betty Medica were the last married Worker couple in the world to enter the Work (1962), and Martin was the last of the married couples to die. They labored in the Caribbean. Betty passed away in 2012 and Martin in 2019, aged 95.
By 1970, nearly all the early married Workers had retired. Worldwide, the practice of allowing married Workers to preach has been entirely phased out. Workers can no longer choose to exercise their right as expressed by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:5, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” If the current Worker shortage continues, perhaps this policy will be revisited.
The 2×2 policy regarding marriage of Workers shares similarities with that of FM. When a FM Pilgrim became engaged or married, s/he could not remain in the ministry. However, their superintendents were allowed to marry and maintain semi-permanent residences for several years, while overseeing several itinerant FM Pilgrims. Likewise, the married 2×2 Sect Worker couples, Carrolls, McClungs, Grahams and Micheletos were all 2×2 Regional Overseers.
Children of Married Workers. Some married Workers had children while they were in the Work (Christies, Beatties, Grahams), indicating that celibacy among married Workers was not strictly followed.
While Irvine was the international leader, he required married couples desiring to be Workers to leave their children behind. Reportedly, Bill and Maggie Carroll’s daughter, May, was cared for by Bill’s mother in Ireland, who died in March 1909. May immigrated with her parents to Australia in 1913. After the Beatties entered the Work in 1911, a relative raised their 18-month-old son. After Irvine’s exit in 1914, according to a Beattie family account, their three subsequent children stayed with them during some or most of the time they were preaching, as was the case for the Christies in Hawaii.
List of All Known Married Worker Pairs
|Last Name||First Names||Maiden Name||Children|
|Batstone||Verdun and Anna||Bryant|
|Beattie||Ralph and Amy Constance Irene “Rene”||Lester||Four children|
|Betty||Tom and Elizabeth “Lily”||Pendreigh||Three sons|
|Brown||Joe and Grace||Prideaux|
|Butler||Arthur and Emma|
|Bye||Lars and Olga||Wold|
|Carelse||Andrew and Ann|
|Carroll||William “Bill” and Margaret “Maggie”||Hastings||Daughter May|
|Christie||David “Dave” and Emily||Wilson||Son and daughter|
|Cunningham||Bob and Isabella “Bella”||Fleming||Daughter Lucille|
|Dalrymple||Robert and Ruth||Brost|
|deGroot||Albert J. and Emma M.||Besk|
|Dennison||Tom and Shirley||Jesiek|
|Dickson||Nathaneal “Nat” and Annie||Metcalf||One son|
|Doak||Hugh and Dessie||Dick|
|Downie||Frank and Elsie||Ingram||Daughter Renee|
|Dunshee||Willard Amos and Ethel E.||McVicker|
First married couple to enter the Work (1902)
|Tom and Ellen||Stinson|
|Gard||Edward “Ed” and Caroline “Carrie”||Palmer||One son|
|Graham||Robert and Maude||Pryor||Five children|
|Guy||Bob and Elizabeth||Jones, Sam Jones’ sister|
|Harris||Vernandez and Edith|
|Hartmann||Otto and Manny||Schneider|
|Heselwood||Arther/Arthur and Elizabeth “Lily/Lizzie”||Ripley||Four children|
|Johnson||George and Ella||Powers|
|Kilpatrick||Tom and Martha|
|Kleven||Joseph “Joe” and Minnie||Propp|
|MacLeod||Murdo and Dollie||MacLean||Son George|
|Magowan||Alfred and Sarah||Dawson|
|McClung||Walter and Christina “Chrissie”||McLennan|
Entered the Work in 1903
|Wilson and Anne “Annie”||Kerr|
|McIlwrath||William “Willie” and Mildred “Millie” Olive||Spillett||Son Jimmie|
Last married couple to enter the Work (1962) and last to die.
|Martin and Catherine Elizabeth “Betty”|
|Micheletos||John and Anna “Annie”||McBride|
|Peterson||Gus and ?|
|Pitts||Jim and Mary|
|Plaatjies||James and Gertrude “Gertie”|
|Punke||Ernst and Finny|
|Quick||Frank and Hilda||Vogt|
|Richter||Charles “Charlie” and Belle||Weydt|
|Robinson||Les and Evelyn|
|Scott||Alexander “Sandy” and Eva||Idso|
|Scott||Joseph “Joe” and Mary Ann “Millie”|
|Smith||John Robert “Bob” or “João” and Martha||Hogg|
|Steward||Andy and ?|
|Thompson||Thomas and Annie||Swift|
|Walker||George and Margaret “Maggie”||Dane|
|Wilson||Matthew “Matt” and Leticia||Armstrong|
|Winegard||Ellsworth and Caroline||Bedette|