National organization recognizes a supporting church and women ministers for excellence in preaching, leading, mentoring
For Immediate Release
Contact: Pam Durso: firstname.lastname@example.org / Cell: 404-513-6022
STONE MOUNTAIN, GEORGIA – A Baptist congregation and Baptist women ministers, including two seminarians and a university professor, were recognized for excellence in ministry by a national organization that advocates for and supports Baptist women serving in ministerial roles.
At its annual worship service on June 28, Baptist Women in Ministry presented awards for leadership in pastoral ministry, excellence in preaching, and distinguished mentorship. The group also honored a Baptist church that supports female ministers.
“Baptist women serve in a variety of ministry roles, including as pastors and church leaders,” said the Rev. Dr. Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM). “Each year, men and women from across the country gather to honor and support these women gifted and called by God.”
Awards presented by BWIM are named for those who broke the glass ceiling in Baptist life, including Addie Davis, the first Southern Baptist woman to be ordained to the gospel ministry in 1964, and Frankie Granger Huff, a pioneering minister who began service on a church staff in 1968.
Genetta Williams is the 2017 recipient of the Addie Davis Award for Outstanding Leadership in Pastoral Ministry. A 2017 graduate of Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, Williams serves as an associate pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Williams is and is known for her commitment to ministry that extends beyond the walls of the church building, and she is president of the Young Adult Department of the Women’s Baptist Home and Foreign Missionary Auxiliary of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “She is a high-energy, dutiful, and dedicated servant,” said Michael G. Cogdill, founding dean and professor of Christian ministry at Campbell Divinity School. “She loves Christ and the church, and this love radiates from her spirit. She is known joyfully by all here at Campbell as ‘Madam Servant.’”
Demi S. McCoy is the recipient of the 2017 Addie Davis Award for Excellence in Preaching. A 2017 graduate of Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, McCoy directed the school’s musical ensemble, “Lift Every Voice,” and served as preaching intern at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. “Demi is a passionate and exciting preacher who offers God’s Gospel Word with energy and insight,” said professor, Jill Crainshaw, who teaches preaching and worship at WFU Divinity School. “She has done this excellent homiletical work while cultivating other religious leadership skills—skills that support and expand the overall formative and transformative influence of preachers.”
Beulah Baptist Church in Devereux, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2017 Church of Excellence Award. The small, rural church embodies big-hearted, selfless generosity and a welcoming spirit. At 225-years-old, the church has long been a financial supporter and encourager of women serving in ministerial roles in Baptist life. Their most recent pastor, the Rev. Genie Hargrove, frequently opened her pulpit to women ministers of all ages and experience levels, and she encouraged their callings and giftedness. Hargrove passed away on July 14, 2016, after a battle with breast cancer, but her legacy of support lives on through the church and the many women and men who experienced her love and kindness. “When I preached at Beulah Baptist Church, the welcome and encouragement that I received from the congregation made my stepping into the pulpit for the first time feel like I was coming home instead of jumping into something scary and new,” said Ashley Robinson, a first-year seminary student who preached her first sermon at Beulah Baptist. “I will forever be grateful for Genie’s invitation and Beulah’s kind affirmation.”
Dr. Nora O. Lozano is the recipient of the 2017 Frankie Huff Granger Distinguished Mentor Award. As a professor of theology at the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas, she has nurtured the academic growth and faith development of hundreds of women and men, many of whom now serve in churches and ministries throughout the world. “She provided me the vehicle that allowed my journey to move away from the oppressive theology of my youth to liberation and acceptance of my ministerial call and acceptance of my role as pastora,” said former student Veronica Martínez-Gallegos.
Lozano is co-founder and executive director of the Latina Leadership Institute, a nonprofit organization that seeks to “identify, develop, and empower Christian Latina leaders.” In the past 10 years, more than 250 women have received leadership training at the three Latina Leadership Institute sites in Texas, North Carolina and Monterrey, Mexico.
“The awards Baptist Women in Ministry presents each year are an affirmation of the recipients but are also an acknowledgment of the unique gifts, voices, and strengths of the thousands of women who currently serve and minister in Baptist life,” Durso said. “God is using gifted women to advance the work of the gospel in communities large and small.”
Founded in 1983, Baptist Women in Ministry seeks to bring renewal and change within congregations and institutions so that women called by God can live fully into their callings. The organization releases a report “The State of Women in Baptist Life,” every fifth year, detailing the progress of women ministers. For more information, visit their website at www.bwim.info.
The 2017 awards were presented during BWIM’s annual gathering, held this year at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Photos of the event are available upon request.