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Rhonda Kelley receives ministers’ wives award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Rhonda H. Kelley was honored with the 2005 Mrs. J.M. Dawson Award at the 50th annual Ministers’ Wives Conference June 21 in Nashville, Tenn.

She received the award for her “contribution in the local church and beyond,” said JoAnn Leavell, who presented the award in front of 1,500 women.

Kelley is the wife of Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Leavell is the wife of a former NOBTS president, Landrum Leavell.

Now serving as professor of women’s ministry at New Orleans Seminary, Kelley is a graduate of Baylor University and has a doctorate in speech pathology from the University of New Orleans.

Kelley has authored numerous books, including: “Life Lessons from Women of the Bible” and various “Woman’s Guide” books on Christian living. She was managing editor for the Woman’s Study Bible and currently is co-editing The Women’s Evangelical Library project by Broadman & Holman of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Kelley has served as associate director of Innovative Evangelism and hosts “A Word for Women,” a TV/radio program in New Orleans. In addition, she coordinates the women’s ministry at her church, First Baptist in New Orleans.

Despite the time she has invested in training other women, speaking and writing, Kelley said she knows what her number one priority is.

“Thirty-one years ago when I married my husband, I knew my first role as a minister’s wife was to my husband,” said Kelley in accepting the award. “I am thankful to the Lord. I pray that God will give you the same blessings He has given me in ministry.”

Kelley served as director of speech pathology at Ochsner Medical Institutions in New Orleans for 15 years before entering fulltime ministry.

The award was established in 1963 when the ministers’ wives group posthumously honored Willie Turner Dawson, wife of J.M. Dawson who pastored First Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. His wife was a Baptist teacher and lecturer who challenged the Southern Baptist Convention to give more to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in 1930. As a result, the convention saw a large increase in the international missions offering.

Each year a minister’s wife is given the award for making a distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church and for her Christian character and service to others.

To nominate someone for next year’s award, send requests to Lynda Estep, P.O. Box 1000, Columbia, SC 29202.

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  • Kelli Cottrell