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Baptist General Convention of Texas elects first female president


FORT WORTH, Texas (RNS) — The Baptist General Convention of Texas elected its first female president Oct. 29.

Joy Fenner, a former missionary from Garland, Texas, won on a 900-840 vote, defeating David Lowrie, a pastor of a church in Canyon, Texas.

Fenner, 70, who has served as a church secretary and executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, won with the smallest margin of victory in the state convention’s history, according to a BGCT news release.

Fenner’s election follows the convention’s election of its first black president, in 2005, and its first Hispanic president the previous year.

Fenner, who was first vice president of the convention before the election, pledged to emphasize increasing mission work by the 2.3 million-member convention.

Some of the more than 5,600 congregations affiliated with the BGCT are also affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, but the state convention has distanced itself from the more conservative denomination in recent years.