The Texas legislature honored incoming Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leader Suzii Paynter Feb. 28 with a House resolution recognizing her advocacy work on numerous social issues during more than a decade of service with Texas Baptists.
The resolution introduced by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) marked an end to Paynter’s job as director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, which she has held since 2006. March 1 she took office as executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, an Atlanta-based network of about 2,000 churches.
Since 2011, Paynter, the first woman to head the Texas Baptist CLC, has also led the Baptist General Convention of Texas Advocacy and Care Center, overseeing the work of 700 chaplains. She is also the first woman to be named CEO of the Fellowship, a missionary-sending organization formed in 1991.
The House resolution recognized Paynter’s efforts on wide-ranging concerns including food policy, hunger, child and maternal nutrition, foster care, juvenile justice, predatory gambling, predatory lending practices, immigration, human trafficking, education and energy.
“She has done all this with an amazing amount of grace, good cheer and tireless devotion,” Anchia said. “I’m proud to have worked with Suzii for the past seven years, and I wish her well in her new journey.”
Prior to becoming executive director of the CLC, Paynter worked five years as director of public policy behind the leadership of Phil Strickland, longtime executive director of the Texas CLC who died from cancer in 2006.