Baptist Women in Ministry of North Carolina (BWIM NC) celebrated its 25th anniversary April 11, unveiling a “Cloud of Witnesses” quilt and honoring those who support women in ministry.
The quilt contained names of people whom others have found inspirational and encouraging as a witness to them. Contributions were made to the BWIM scholarship fund in honor of each person named. BWIM provides scholarship assistance to one woman at each of North Carolina’s four divinity schools that have some affiliation with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Pam Durso, associate executive director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, recalled Addie Davis, who in 1964 became the first woman ordained in a Southern Baptist church, and reflected on Joshua 3:1-4, where Joshua instructed the Israelites to follow God’s lead as they crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land, for “then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
Durso spoke of women who have depended on God to find places of service and voices of encouragement, willing to walk down roads and explore places Baptist women had not been before. Just as they were watched, she said, so “we are being watched” by a cloud of witnesses in the making. Thus, she said, “We too must run with perseverance and not grow weary.”
The organization presented its annual church award — given to a church that has encouraged women in ministry — to Ridge Road Baptist Church in Raleigh, which also served as the host church for the meeting. The “Cloud of Witnesses Quilt” will remain on display at Ridge Road for the next year.
The annual Anne Thomas Neil Award was presented to Ruby Fulbright, executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina. Karen Metcalf, a minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, said the award recognized not only Fulbright’s leadership, but also the group’s admiration for WMU.