Litton, Gardner signify shifts
Outside a networking event in Birmingham, a group of young women stood with Kathy Litton, who just hours before had won a close election for SBC office. The women laughed as they congratulated “Madame Secretary.” Litton is the first woman in history to serve as SBC registration secretary, beating incumbent Don Currence by a slim 44 votes. (Litton is pictured with other incoming officers in the photo on page 11).
Currently serving as director of planter spouse development for the North American Mission Board, Litton has given a lifetime of service to Southern Baptists at all levels of convention life, Florida pastor Jimmy Scroggins said in his speech nominating her. He acknowledged that many Baptists probably haven’t given much thought to who serves as registration secretary. “But now it has potential to become a very prominent role,” Scroggins said.
As registration secretary, Litton will serve in an ex officio role on the new standing credentials committee charged with investigating charges of misconduct by churches that would deem them not in friendly cooperation with the SBC, including matters related to sexual abuse.
“A woman’s voice—in particular, this woman’s voice, Kathy Litton’s voice—will bring much needed perspective and a measure of credibility as we recommit to a process of accountability for churches and care for victims,” Scroggins said.
Litton’s election signals a new day for women in the SBC, reflected in events focused on women’s work and ministry held throughout the Birmingham meeting. At the fifth annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast hosted by Southeastern Seminary, Illinois’ Becky Gardner spoke to women about giving to God out of the gifts he has given them. Gardner is also in a historic role, serving as the first-ever female head of trustees at a Southern Baptist seminary (Southeastern in Wake Forest, N.C.). Gardner is superintendent of Peoria Christian School.
Leadership development is to glorify God, Gardner said during a panel discussion at the breakfast. “It isn’t to get our name out there in a place of recognition, but it is an opportunity that the Lord gives us to give back to him, in the gifts and abilities he has given us.” And to encourage others to do the same, Gardner said.
She encouraged busy women to find time to spend with the Lord, reading and meditating on his Word. “He is going to multiply your time, multiply your efforts, to glorify him.”