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.


2023-2024 International Board

President: Sandy Pace, Virginia
Vice President: Cathy Duncan, New York
Secretary: Bernadette V. Hudnell, Mississippi
Treasurer: Bruce McLelland, Ontario
Around the World Director: Linda Hilmer, Indiana
Branch President Representative: Linda Hilmer, Indiana
Chautauqua Housing Director: Christine Dawson, Ontario
Chautauqua Properties Director: John Hilmer, Indiana
Communications Director: Michael Salfi, Ontario
Health Careers Scholarship Director: Lori Frank, Member at Large (Officer – potential future Board Member)
Learn and Discern Internship Director: Bruce McLelland, Ontario
Native American Scholarship Director: Louise Maynor, North Carolina (Board Member 2023 – 2024)
Student Ministry Director: Heather Pilkey, Ontario (Officer – potential future Board Member)
Past International President: Susan Kildow, Ohio
Parliamentarian: Phoebe McLelland, Ontario
Historian: Norma Stack, Missouri

*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.”