“How do Baptist women's experiences of call and vocation deepen understandings of Christian ordination and ministry? ”
Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, NC ordained Addie Davis in 1964, making her the first woman ordained by a Southern Baptist Church. Despite numerous obstacles, hundreds of Baptist women have followed in her footsteps in this predominantly white, southern denomination. The purpose of this project is to record, transcribe, archive, catalogue, and analyze the calls to ministry and ministry experiences of these women. While some among the first generation of ordained Baptist women, including Rev. Davis, have died, many are still alive. The first phase of this project aims to collect the stories of the women who were founding members of the national organization Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) before expanding to interview later generations of Baptist women ministers.
Documenting their stories not only preserves history, but also counters the oft-told narrative that Baptists do not have female ministers. Documenting their individual stories also provides the opportunity for analysis – to uncover, isolate, and understand what was at work inside their call, offering a case study for how ministry and vocation are gendered. This interview collection will be housed in, and maintained by, Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History, easily accessible to anyone who wishes to study and understand the topic of women in ministry.