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Ministers’ wives honor Kem Jackson

Ministers’ wives awarded Kem Jackson, right, the wife of Al Jackson, pastor emeritus of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala., the 2022 Willie Dawson Turner award at the annual Ministers’ Wives Luncheon during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim on June 14. Rhonda Kelley, left, wife of former New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president Chuck Kelley, presented the award. Photo by Karen McCutcheon


ANAHEIM (BP) – Ministers’ wives awarded Kem Jackson, the wife of Al Jackson, pastor emeritus of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala., the 2022 Willie Dawson Turner award at the annual Ministers’ Wives Luncheon during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim on June 14.

Each year, the Dawson Award recognizes a minister’s wife for making a distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church and for her Christian character and service to others.

Heather Payne, the current pastor’s wife of Lakeview, nominated Jackson, said Rhonda Kelley, wife of former New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president Chuck Kelley, who presented the award.

“All of you deserve this award,” Kelley told the 1,500 minister wives in attendance, noting there were six nominations this year.

The Jacksons served 42 years at Lakeview Baptist Church, Kelley said. A pastor’s wife who desired to obey the call of Titus 2 to mentor women, Jackson served in the ladies’ ministry and often opened her home to young wives and mothers for almost five decades. The Jacksons have three children and currently have nine grandchildren.

In her acceptance of the award, which was a surprise to her, Jackson said this has been a very different, bittersweet year, calling the award “icing on the cake” after retiring and stepping back from ministry after “pouring out for 50 years” in her home and church.

“Give it all you have because Jesus gave it all,” said Jackson, who is described as one who models biblical womanhood, servant leadership and Christian hospitality. “You will have no regrets!”

Whether honored or not in this life, she said, “you will be honored for all you do as a minister’s wife.”

The Willie Turner Dawson Award was established in 1963 when the ministers’ wives group posthumously honored Willie Turner Dawson, a teacher and lecturer and wife of J.M. Dawson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

To nominate a minister’s wife for the 2023 Dawson Award, send a nomination to Kathy Whitson at [email protected] by April 1, 2023, or fill out a nomination form when registering for Lifeway events.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker
    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United. Read All by Shannon Baker ›