Fifty years ago, Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, NC, ordained Addie Davis, the first woman in Southern Baptist life to be so recognized. About 400 participants celebrated that anniversary as Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) met June 25 at First Baptist Church of Decatur.
BWIM executive director Pam Durso praised Davis as a pioneer who served faithfully when she had no role models, becoming a mentor for others when there was very little encouragement for Baptist women to be involved in ministry.
The program featured former winners of the “Addie Davis Award,” including Shelley Hasty Woodruff, who won the “Addie Davis Excellence in Preaching Award” in 2007 and is a member of Watts Street Baptist Church.
Dorisanne Cooper, recently called as pastor of Watts Street, led the congregation in a time of communion.
Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, MS, was honored with the 2014 BWIM “Church of Excellence Award” for its persistent support of women in ministry.
Sue Fitzgerald of North Carolina was recognized with the 2014 Frankie Huff Granger Distinguished Mentor Award. Fitzgerald served a number of churches over the course of 60 years in ministry. She was ordained by Mars Hill Baptist Church in Mars Hill, NC, in 1973, and instituted the Center for Christian Education Ministries at Mars Hill College, leading it for 20 years.
Erica Evans Whitaker, nearing graduation from Truett Theological Seminary, received the 2014 “Addie Davis Award for Outstanding Leadership in Pastoral Ministry.” Whitaker is minister of outreach at Agape Baptist Church in Forth Worth, TX.
Racquel Gill, a student at Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC, was recognized with the 2014 “Addie Davis Award for Excellence in Preaching.” Gill was licensed to preach by St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Winnsboro, SC, when she was just 14 years old, and ordained by the same church at age 18. She has traveled widely in a ministry of preaching in churches and at youth events.
Following lunch, BWIM participants honored Durso for five years of service as executive director of the Atlanta-based organization.