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Lee introduces new WMU president to SBC

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Wanda S. Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union, introduced Debby Akerman as the newly elected president of national WMU during her report at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 16 in Orlando, Fla.

Lee also announced changes in missions curriculum for preschoolers and teen girls.

Akerman, a member of Ocean View Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was unanimously elected president by members of the organization during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting June 14 in Orlando. Following her election, Akerman was introduced June 15 during the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering appreciation luncheon hosted by the North American Mission Board and during the Korean Baptist Fellowship later that evening.

A native of Massachusetts, Akerman has been involved in WMU leadership on local, associational, state and national levels. She is a graduate of New England Baptist School of Nursing in Boston and ministered to others through a 30-year career in nursing.

Akerman succeeds Kaye Miller, also a registered nurse, of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark. Lee voiced appreciation for Miller’s “wonderful leadership and commitment to missions” as she served as national president over the past five years.

Lee said she first met Akerman in 1993 when they both were serving as vice presidents of national WMU. “At the time, she represented New England and I represented Georgia,” Lee reflected. “Debby’s heart for the world and passion for involving others in missions, particularly through Girls in Action and hands-on mission opportunities, has always been so evident.”

Following her introduction, Akerman said, “I am honored to put my feet on the same path where women of giant faith, deep prayer and extraordinary vision have served God in WMU. The WMU missions journey, begun in 1888, is the most fulfilling way I have found to serve our Lord and to see His Kingdom work accomplished.”

Lee also announced changes in missions education curriculum. “We have taken a serious look at the needs of our churches, especially small churches, in the area of missions education,” Lee said. “After a great deal of research and input, we have completely redesigned and will launch new curriculum for preschoolers and teenage girls at the start of the new church year.”

In addition to a new look and packaging, Mission Friends materials will have new names: Mission Friends Leader will replace Start as the resource for preschool leaders and Mission Friends at Home will replace Share as take-home missions activities for preschoolers. While the Acteens curriculum will not undergo any name changes, the member and leader pieces — The Mag and Acteens Leader — will be tied more closely together and are completely redesigned.
Julie Walters is communications specialist for Woman’s Missionary Union (www.wmu.com).