- August 5, 2014
- By Ken Camp / Managing Editor
Texas Baptist missions leader and denominational officer Kathy Hillman will be nominated for president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas during the state convention’s annual meeting in November.
Hillman, the convention’s current first vice president, was president of Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas from 2000 to 2004 and served on numerous BGCT committees.
If elected president, she will be the second woman to hold the office. Joy Fenner, former executive director-treasurer of Texas WMU, served as BGCT president in 2007-2008.
Duane Brooks will nominate
Duane Brooks, pastor of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, announced he will nominate Hillman for president when the convention meets in Waco, Nov. 16-18.
“Kathy Hillman represents the best of our Baptist heritage and our hope for the future,” Brooks said. “She has been tireless in her work for Baptist causes.”
Her experience as an officer the past two years—as second vice president and then first vice president—provides continuity and allows her to be ready for the presidency on Day One, Brooks noted.
“She knows the lay of the land,” he said. “She is a gifted leader with a lot to offer Texas Baptists.”
Hillman expressed appreciation for what Texas Baptists have meant to her and her family.
“I believe in the BGCT and its mission, and I am especially grateful for all the ways I have benefitted from it and through it all my life,” she said.
Deep Texas Baptist roots
She noted her family’s deep roots in Texas Baptist life, going back three generations and extending to her children who were born in a Baptist hospital and educated in Baptist universities.
She completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Baylor University, where her great-grandmother, both grandfathers, both parents and two of her children all attended. Another grandmother and a child attended Howard Payne University, also a Texas Baptist school.
After a daughter and son-in-law, Holly and Kevin Smith, lost their home in the fertilizer plant explosion at West on April 17, 2013, Hillman gained a deepened appreciation for Texas Baptists’ involvement in disaster relief and recovery.
“We were personally touched by the tragedy at West,” she said. “We really saw Texas Baptists at their best at work there.”
If elected, Hillman noted she would bring a distinctive perspective to the convention presidency, both as a woman and a layperson. She particularly would like to see Texas Baptists do more to minister to the spouses of pastors, she added.
On Baylor University faculty
Hillman has worked in various faculty positions at Baylor University since 1976, including associate professor and director of special collections for the central university libraries. She now is director of Baptist collections, library advancement and the Keston Center for Religion, Politics & Society at Baylor.
She has served on the executive council and executive board of Waco Regional Baptist Association, and she served as the association’s first female vice moderator in 2008-2009 and its first female moderator in 2009-2011.
Hillman has chaired the BGCT Committee to Nominate Executive Board Members and its Committee on Order of Business. She also served on the BGCT Executive Board, and she serves on the board of directors for Paisano Baptist Encampment.
She grew up in First Baptist Church in Eldorado. She is a 38-year member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, where she has held a variety of leadership positions on committees, in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, in the music ministry and in WMU.
She and her husband, John, have three adult children and three grandchildren, but they hope the family expands soon, since their daughter and son-in-law who have rebuilt in West are in the process of adopting a sibling group of four children, ranging in age from 7 to 12.
Editor's Note: Information in the 5th paragraph from the end was edited after the story originally was posted.