Who We Are

Our Values:  Faith, Compassionate Caring, Collaboration

IOKDS on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution since 1920

Our History

  • Founded January 13, 1886, in the New York City home of Margaret Bottome along with her ten friends.
  • Vision:  Caring for all God’s children 
  • The silver Maltese cross was chosen as a badge.  Those who could not procure a cross pin wore a purple ribbon to proclaim their membership.

2020-2021 International Board 

President:  Janet Laude, Pennsylvania
Vice President:  Sandy Pace, Virginia
Secretary:  Catherine Duncan, New York
Treasurer:  Bruce McLelland, ON
Around the World Director:  Pam Yarborough, Texas  (Board Member 2022 – 2023)
Branch President Representative:
  Vince Carlo, ON

Chautauqua Housing Director:  Sharon Niday, West Virginia
Chautauqua Properties Director:  John Hilmer, IN
Communications Director:  Michael Salfi, ON
Health Careers Director:  Linda Hilmer, Indiana  (Board Member 2023 – 2024)
Learn & Discern Internship Director:
  Mark Foglesong, Indiana

Native American Director:
  Louise Maynor, SC
(Board Member 2024 – 2025)
Student Ministries Director:
  Norma Stack, Missouri
  (Board Member 2021 – 2022)
Past International President:  Frances Sellew, VA

Parliamentarian:  Phoebe McLelland, Ontario  (Non-Board Presidential Appointment)
Historian:  Meredith Houghton, Kentucky   (Non-Board Presidential Appointment)

*Note: All Board members, officers, and staff sign a Conflict of Interest certification form annually.

Branch Presidents

Organizational Structure

  • At the International level, our membership totals around 2,500 members from North America.  Our international headquarters are located in western New York at the Chautauqua Institution on Lake Chautauqua.  headquarters@iokds.org
  • If there are at least 50 members located in one state or province, the group is organized as a Branch.
  • At the local level, a Circle is formed with a group of three or more members.


We embody God’s love transforming lives of all kinds of people of all age and circumstance.

Get In Touch

Privacy Statement:

Personal contact information is used only for the sole purpose of receiving official correspondence from IOKDS staff or Board of Directors.  Our membership data base is not shared with any other group or organization.

Dive Deeper

“It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution.  It’s also a very clear path to happiness.”