Women of Worship
In the early 70's Rev. James Cleveland appointed Mrs. Elma Hendricks, a true servant of God, of Detroit, Michigan as the first Chairman of the Women's Division, GMWA. Each year the Women's Division raised funds for scholarships for students aspiring to become great musicians. Mrs. Hendricks worked diligently and faithfully with the women (which was a small group at that time). She was a very firey woman and that excitement spread like wildfire causing the women to praise God and to give Him the glory and honor due Him. Mrs. Hendricks encouraged the women to strive for excellence until her death.

In 1979 Rev. James Cleveland appointed another strong woman of God, Mrs. Mary K. Elsaw of Birmingham, Alabama as leader of the Women's Division. She was short in statue, but a great leader and disciplinarian. Mrs. Elsaw stepped to the mark to carry the torch of excellence that Mrs. Hendricks had begun.

During Mrs. Elsaw's administration, the Women's Division became the second largest division in the workshop. In addition to the Ms. GMWA contest and other fund raisers that made it possible for many student to receive scholarships to the universities of their choices, the Women's Division recorded its first project, "Order My Steps" written by Glenn Burleigh. The recording was intended to be a fund raiser; however, God blessed the project and it is still ministering to saints even to this present time. Because of Mrs. Elsaw's vision, the Women's Division is known as the "Women of Worship". This group of women is known as one of the most respected group of worshippers in this nation and abroad. Mrs. Elsaw, just as Mrs. Hendricks, has left a legacy of excellence for the Women's Division to carry on. She is now resting in the safety of our Lord.

In addition to worshipping God in spirit and in song, the Women's Division also focuses on helping youth by funding annual scholarships for youth interested in furthering their studies in music.

Another area of the Women's Division is hoping to impact is women's health. The Division focuses on the temple that embodies God's spirit and enables each woman to life up her voice and sing. The group wants to help women take care of themselves. Women need to be reminded to take care of their temples.

As part of the healthy lifestyle initiative, the Women's Division compiled a Women of Worship Cookbook. The cookbook features favorite recipes from the hundreds of women who make up the division.

At the convention in Milwaukee in 2005 the division revisited one of the traditions of Black women and church by sponsoring their first Hatter's Tea. Each women is encouraged to show up wearing one of their finest crowns or hats. The Tea features a National Recording Artist and a competition of between the women that ends in the crowning of Miss GMWA.

One of the highlights of the convention is the night recording of the Women of Worship. The group rehearses songs sent in by songwriters from throughout the country and records those songs.

Throughout the women's time together, they receive information to inspire, inform, and ignite. The workshops are designed to educate choir members so that they may return to their home churches with a better understanding of music. The Women's Division wants its attendees to return home knowing that the division is comprised to strong sisters who love the Lord, love singing good gospel music, and who want to be around so that God can order their steps.

Currently, Mrs. Eloise Ford Gaffney is Chair of the the Women's Division and a member of the GMWA Board of Directors. She is a founding member of the Birmingham Community Mass Choir which was organized in 1968 by Mrs. Mary K. Elsaw.

Mrs. Gaffney served as assistant to Mrs. Elsaw for 35 years, and was Mrs. Elsaw’s Administrative Assistant for the Woman of Worship, GMWA. During this time frame she was instrumental in planning activities, keeping records, scheduling, teaching and directing the choir. For many years served as section leader on many of the recordings by the Women of Worship (Order My Steps, When I Get Home, Coronation, I Got My Joy Back and He Lives just to name a few).