National Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) President Linda Cooper has named the search committee for identifying the woman God would have as the missions organization’s next executive director and requested prayer for the committee’s work.
On Jan. 11, Wanda Lee, who has served as executive director since 2000, announced to the WMU board her intention to retire, providing ample notice for a search committee to be formed and seek a new leader.
Cooper said she prayed earnestly for God’s direction in selecting search committee members who have extensive experience in WMU and represent various geographical locations.
The committee members are Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU, who will serve as chairperson; Debby Akerman, former national WMU president (2010-2015); Jill McNicol, president of Illinois WMU; Kathy Sheldon, president of Pennsylvania/South Jersey WMU; and June Tate, president of Colorado WMU.
“Above all, I am confident these women will take this task very seriously, seeking the Lord’s guidance in all they do in every step of this process,” said Cooper, a member of Forest Park Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Ky. “I encourage every Southern Baptist to pray intentionally and daily for the committee, for me, and for the one whom God already has selected who will lead WMU forward.
“I also ask you pray for Wanda who will continue to lead WMU in the meantime,” Cooper continued. “She has given her all to lead us for the past 16 years and is committed to a seamless transition in leadership. I thank God for her and for other strong missions leaders in our churches who know firsthand how God uses missions discipleship through WMU to change lives.”
Including Lee, national WMU has had just seven leaders since its inception in 1888: Annie Armstrong (1888-1906), Edith Campbell Crane (1907-1911), Kathleen Mallory (1912-1948), Alma Hunt (1948-1974), Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler (1974-1989), and Dellanna O’Brien (1989-1999).
The committee will begin its work immediately. Recommendations and resumes may be sent to WMU Search Committee, c/o Joy Bolton, Kentucky WMU, 13420 Eastpoint Centre Drive, Louisville, KY 40223, or by email to [email protected], to be received no later than May 1.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie Walters is corporate communications team leader for WMU, Woman’s Missionary Union, based in Birmingham, Ala.)