advocacy / General CBF

CBF Tennessee Announces Annual Advocacy for Women in Ministry Recipient

The Betty Galloway Advocacy for Women in Ministry Award, an annual recognition by CBF Tennessee, has been posthumously awarded to layperson June Holland McEwen of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mrs. McEwen is both the first layperson to receive the honor and the only person to receive it posthumously.  

According to Mary Jayne Allen, retired minister of education from FBC Chattanooga and friend of Mrs. McEwen, “The award is long overdue! She played a major role in the ordination of women deacons and ministers at FBC Chattanooga, gathering support through events that educated and encouraged conversation and action.”  

June Holland McEwen

Mrs. McEwen was born July 6, 1930, in Roane County, TN where she attended public schools there and in Knoxville. She graduated magna cum laude and earned a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In addition to life-long involvement in Baptist churches and ministries, she taught English, Bible, and Art History, as well as college English. For fifteen years she was assistant director of the University Honors Program at UT Chattanooga. Mrs. McEwen was married 62 years to Dr. Jack H McEwen, long-time pastor of FBC Chattanooga and the namesake of its chapel.  

Her most recent pastor, Dr. Thomas Quisenberry, said about Mrs. McEwen, “At her very core, June McEwen was an encourager. She had the amazing ability of seeing the potential in others and then working to nurture them to their full calling. She was a born leader, an astute mind, a deeply caring soul, and someone I was fortunate to call friend.”  

As a layperson, Mrs. McEwen was an advocate of CBF generously defined from its earliest days. She served on CBF’s earliest governing board, was a founder of Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) and served for many years on the board of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. A lover of her church and community, she taught the Waters Sunday School class at FBC Chattanooga for over twenty years.  

“BWIM joins CBF Tennessee in celebrating Mrs. June Holland McEwen and her contributions to advocating for women in ministry. June was one of the thirty-three founding mothers of BWIM who met in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 to form an organization that would support and advocate for women in ministry. Her pioneering leadership and steadfast belief that God calls women to ministry is part of the foundation of our organization’s existence and work for the last 40 years,” says Meredith Stone, BWIM executive coordinator.  

June joins a lengthy list of Galloway recipients that include three men, thirteen clergy women including Rev. Suzii Paynter and Dr. Molly Marshall, and eight churches including the most recent recipient of BWIM’s Church of Excellence Award, Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville, TN.  

Tennessee CBF has had the privilege of naming the recipient of the award since 2003, being given that authority by the organization that began the award in 2000, Tennessee Baptists Encouraging Women in Ministry. Since that time, 22 individuals and churches have received the award named in honor of the first Southern Baptist female deacon ordained in the state of Tennessee. Betty Galloway served as missionary in China and Thailand before serving at Tennessee CBF partner congregation First Baptist Church of Oak Ridge.  

Usually awarded during its spring General Assembly, this year’s award news comes in advance of Saturday’s Through the Eyes of Jesus event, a complimentary online offering from Tennessee CBF to the global Baptist community in recognition of its 30th anniversary, and in honor and memory of those who signed its charter in 1992. 

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