I was recently asked how it feels to be a new (though admittedly not that young) Baptist minister. The person asking was concerned that there are not enough structures in place in the Baptist world to support ministers through mentoring and fellowship. And admittedly, I feel some of that. One might luck into those relationships, but they are not guaranteed – though I have lucked into a few fabulous mentoring relationships, and for that I am grateful.
But my immediate, gut reaction, the one that came from deep within me without any hesitation, was: That’s why I love BWIM.
Baptist Women in Ministry has been a part of my denominational consciousness for most of my life: I attended so many denominational gatherings as a child. I went to the Lolly’s house in Wake Forest. I went to Alliance meetings with my mother. I went to preacher’s camp at Furman, and conventions and gatherings, and meetings filled with hope and meetings filled with grief. And BWIM became a backdrop, a promise, really, that undergirded the forward movement of Baptist life.
BWIM has gone through seasons, some of which were more forward looking than others–as do we all. But its imprint and import and impact have consistently grown. BWIM is the result of sustained energy by movers and shakers in the last century, and BWIM continues to effectively provide healthy and life-giving community and formation to women in ministry today. By nurturing and strengthening leaders, BWIM nurtures and strengthens the churches in which we serve. It participates in the labor of bearing the Gospel in a broken world.
That’s why I love BWIM. And that is why our family gives monthly.–Mary Elizabeth Hanchey is parish associate for worship and pastoral care at United Church. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Baptist Women in Ministry currently has 123 individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. We would love to have 140 monthly supporters, and we hope to add seventeen more donors to our giving list this week! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! Join Mary Elizabeth in being a monthly giver!