Leading CBF into a vibrant future: Three women selected as CBF state/regional coordinators

Leading CBF into a vibrant future: Three women selected as CBF state/regional coordinators

By Meredith Holladay

In the span of one week last November, three women were named as coordinators of state and regional CBF organizations: Terri Byrd (Alabama CBF), Phyllis Boozer (Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast) and Trisha Miller Manarin (Mid-Atlantic CBF). Prior to their selection, no woman held the position of state/regional coordinator. Carolyn Anderson served as coordinator of CBF of Florida from 2003 until 2007, but no woman has held this role since her retirement.

These women represent intergenerational women’s leadership within the Fellowship, and the timing of their appointments marks a shift and movement to a new era of Fellowship leadership.

On November 8, 2013, the Coordinating Council of Alabama CBF unanimously voted for Terri Byrd as its coordinator. Previously, Byrd served as Alabama CBF’s associate coordinator for congregational life and as a minister in local congregations in the areas of worship leadership and student ministry.

Byrd, a born-and-bred Baptist and daughter of a Baptist minister, attended Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. She remembers being told as a young girl that “there were parameters to how [God’s call] was fleshed out, especially for women.” Byrd’s call to ministry came in her late 20s when she “realized the call of God on [her] life was deeper and more involved” than she understood earlier.

Byrd holds her Baptist identity near and dear and believes that being Baptist is about being a member of a particular family.

“I’ll never forget the first CBF General Assembly I went to,” said Byrd. “When I walked into the main room for worship, I knew right away that I had found my new Baptist home.”

She looks forward to opportunities to lead, not just within her own specific context of Alabama, but contributing to the collective vision of the larger Fellowship movement.

As Byrd begins her first full-year leading Alabama CBF, she feels blessed by those with whom she works, a group of folks “who hope for continued and renewed connections to young Baptists, for new ways of being church together and [who] are dreaming of ways to bring sustainable economic growth to the areas of greatest poverty.”

Meanwhile, some 1,100 miles northeast and just a matter of days prior, Phyllis Boozer was named coordinator of the Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast, which includes nine states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Boozer, who had been serving as interim coordinator, resides in Wilton, Conn., a place she has called home for nearly 40 years.

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