THRIVE: Baptist Women in Ministry Annual Worship Gathering, June 25, 2014 Our annual worship was held on June 25 at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia. About 400 participants attended and celebrated together a special anniversary, described by Baptist Women Ministry executive director Pam Durso: “We gather this morning to remember Addie Davis. Even though she is no longer with us, we celebrate this as her anniversary year. Fifty years ago, on August 9, 1964, Addie became the first woman ordained by a Southern Baptist church. On that Sunday, Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, ordained her to the gospel ministry. Addie then served for four decades in ministry and found great contentment in routine pastoral duties—preaching, making hospital visits, talking with the children of the church, and making sure the church building was clean and well-maintained—the ordinary stuff of ministry. The extraordinariness of Addie’s story is that of her faithfulness, her willingness to follow God in a time when there were no role models, no support systems, and no encouragement of her calling . In her quiet persistent way, she modeled for us our theme for today’s worship: THRIVE: LIVING INTO OUR CALL. We give thanks to God for Addie Davis and for the thousands of Baptist women called and gifted by God who have walked on that trail that she blazed.” Durso then introduced the preacher for the morning, Shelley Woodruff . Shelley is the 2007 winner of the Baptist Women in Ministry’s Addie Davis Award for Excellence in Preaching, and by a wonderful turn of life events, is now a member at Watts Street Baptist Church. Shelley’s new pastor, Dorisanne Cooper, who has recently been called by Watts Street, led communion during service. All other worship leaders were also recipients of BWIM’s Addie Davis Awards.
Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, Mississippi, was recognized as the 2014 Church of Excellence. Sue Fitzgerald was given the 2014 Frankie Huff Granger Distinguished Mentor Award. Racquel Gill received the 2014 Addie Davis Award for Excellence in Preaching, and Erica Evans Whitaker received the 2014 Addie Davis Award for Outstanding Leadership in Pastoral Ministry.
Following worship, the crowd enjoyed lunch and fellowship. During lunch, the BWIM Leadership Team recognized Pam Durso for her five years of service as executive director and presented her with a box of letters and cards from friends and encourgers. Emily Hull McGee led a prayer of blessing as Pam was surrounded by past and present Leadership Team members.
After lunch, nine of the eighteen preachers whose sermons are included in Baptist Women in Ministry’s new book, The World is Waiting for You: Celebrating the 50th Ordination Anniversary of Addie Davis participated in a book signing. The book is a collection of sermons preached by Addie Davis Award recipients and is co-edited by Pam Durso and LeAnn Gunter Johns.
The collection also includes a biographical introduction to Addie as well as two of her sermons. One of those sermons, “Waiting for You,” was preached in her home church, Covington Baptist Church, Covington, Virginia, on June 5, 1988, and in that sermon, she said, “Remember this is your day. Now is your turn. The world waits to see what you will do, and God waits expectantly for you.” In 1964, the world was waiting for Addie Davis. It was her day, her turn. And in 2014, the world is waiting for those women who are now serving but especially those who have yet to hear God’s call.