Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Largest Texas Baptist Chapter Elects First Woman President

The Baptist General Convention in Texas elected former missionary Joy Fenner president on Monday, the CR Online reports. It is the "the state's largest Baptist group with 5,600 affiliated congregations and more than 2.3 million members."

This is truly a remarkable turn of events, especially since less than 1 percent of its pastors are female.

The convention also made national headlines the last few years when it elected its first Hispanic president in 2004 and a year later its first black president.

The [moderate] organization has distanced itself from some Southern Baptist leaders who have issued declarations that women should not be pastors and that wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands.
Howling Latina recalls when her former pastor at Westover Baptist Church told her that members of the Texas Convention had been decried as heathens by their more conservative brethren when the fundies took over leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Conservative supremacy began to wane in July 2006 when SBC selected Frank Paige over a fundie as president. Paige had promised to go back to basics and leave politicking to politicans. In other words, stop operating as an arm of the Republican Party.

The lady missionary started her walk with Christ as church secretary in the 50s then became a missionary in Japan. More recently, Fenner was executive director-treasurer of the Texas Woman's Missionary Union. Fenner won by 60 votes over David Lowrie, pastor of First Baptist Church.

The Baptist Press writes that the convention is currently in transition with recent "reports of the misuse of more than $1 million BGCT mission dollars by church planners."

Fenner, a layperson from Gaston Oaks Baptist Church in Garland, will preside over a state convention whose staff is in transition and budget is tightening.

BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade will retire in January, Chief Operating Officer Ron Gunter's resignation takes effect at the end of November and last month the BGCT terminated the employment of 29 convention staff members due to budget cuts.

Oh dear, looks like Fenner has her work cut out for her.

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