On Giving Tuesday, BWIM is featuring Baptist women in ministry who have demonstrated strong leadership and resiliency in 2020. We hope you will consider giving to BWIM to join the work of elevating and nurturing the leadership of women like Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell.
Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell serves as Minister of Stewardship and Missions at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Largo, MD. In addition to leading her congregation’s outreach and women’s ministries, Rev. Girton-Mitchell is also Founder and President of Grace and Race Ministries, Inc, and ministry dedicated to building bridges of racial understanding. She and her husband, James Mitchell, are also business partners in Girton-Mitchell Associates, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in providing assistance to non-profit, business and government organizations in the areas of conflict resolution, workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and transformative leadership development.
Previously, Rev. Girton-Mitchell was appointed by President Obama as the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education where she served from December 2010 to January 2017. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Education, she also served the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA as Associate General Secretary for Justice and Advocacy.
Rev. Girton-Mitchell is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Council of Negro Women Bethune Recognition Award for An Outstanding Woman in Ministry, the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the highest award given by the state of Indiana, the John Wesley Award of Merit presented by Wesley Theological Seminary, and the 2012 US Department of Education MLK Drum Major for Service Award for her extraordinary commitment to community service. She was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Preachers in 2008.
We asked Rev. Girton-Mitchell to share with us about the shape of her ministry in these unprecedented days.
How has your ministry been affected by the pandemic?
BGM: My ministry responsibilities have been magnified during the pandemic. As the pandemic deepens and lingers on, the need for assistance with finances and food increases each week. Our food pantry has distributed food from our parking lot every Saturday and serves about 100 families a month. Our women’s ministry has developed ongoing virtual prayer and fellowship opportunities to help members stay connected. And in my non-profit, Grace and Race Ministries, Inc., there has been a major increase in the requests from faith leaders for anti-racism programs and training since the incidents from the death of George Floyd.
What are some lessons you have learned or innovations in ministry that you will carry forward from this time?
BGM: One of the greatest lessons I have learned has been that people still want opportunities to help other people, even if they too are in the midst of trouble. We created a special fellowship fund above and beyond our regular line item, to encourage giving to help those who have lost jobs and income because of the pandemic. We have also updated and expanded our online giving apps to make giving easier.
Another innovation and lesson we have learned is that virtual ministry events have increased the participation of women who did not come out to evening or weekend activities before the pandemic. Virtual Fitness Friday and Saturday Yoga are new popular activities. Through these and other virtual events we have connected more names to faces online, and we see how much people just want to talk to and connect with others.
How has the support of other women in ministry helped you navigate these difficult days?
BGM: Sisters in ministry help my mental health. I am involved with several prayer and discussion groups that provide safe space and opportunities to be open and share—sort of talk-therapy/no judgment zones. I believe in sisters supporting sisters. We all should surround ourselves with other women who would call our name in a room full of opportunities.
Your generous giving makes possible our support of the strong leadership of women like Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell. Click here to give to BWIM today!