By Terry Maples
Suzii Paynter was honored with the Betty Galloway Advocacy for Women in Ministry Award at the Tennessee CBF General Assembly on April 11 in Memphis, Tenn. Given annually, this award recognizes a person, church or organization that excels in advocating for and encouraging women in ministry leadership.
The Tennessee CBF Coordinating Council nominated Suzii Paynter as this year’s recipient of the Betty Galloway Advocacy for Women in Ministry Award and expressed delight in honoring CBF’s first female Executive Coordinator in this way. Terry Maples, field coordinator in Tennessee, presented a plaque and shared excerpts from a recent presentation made by Suzii at a Texas Baptist Women in Ministry Conference:
Let seeds planted in you bear fruit…Listen to the voice of God who called you, not the ‘belittling voices’ who tell you what you cannot do…The premise, of course, is that there are seeds of leadership deep in our lives. These seeds bear remembering if they are to bear fruit…You have been called into this time, and God is asking something from you.
These words testify to Suzii’s strong advocacy for women in ministry and prove how deserving she is of this award. Suzii was very surprised by this recognition and expressed deep humility for this award from Tennessee CBF.
Betty Galloway (1919-2012) served with her husband as missionary to China and Thailand from 1947-1951. Later, both served First Baptist Church in Russellville, Ky., and First Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn. From the 1960s until her retirement in 1984, Galloway was a special education teacher in Oak Ridge. She holds the distinction of being the first Southern Baptist female deacon in the state of Tennessee. TCBF honors her life and ministry with this award each year to affirm CBF’s theological conviction that God calls women and men to all ministry roles.