Bennett to retire from state missionary role comment (0)
January 30, 2014
By Neisha Fuson
“She has epitomized the servant-mindedness of a devoted follower of Christ.” That’s how Rick Lance, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) executive director, described Mary Sue Bennett, who has served alongside him for more than 30 years.
She has served as a state missionary in the role of special assistant to Lance since he was elected in 1998 and was his administrative assistant for the 15 years prior to that while he was pastor of First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa.
“It’s kind of a way of life,” said Bennett, who will retire from her position at SBOM on Jan. 31.
Bennett, a member of First Baptist Church, Montgomery, also served as recording secretary for the Alabama Baptist State Convention for more than 15 years. She was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by Judson College in June 2013. She had previously earned a bachelor’s degree from William Jewel College in Liberty, Mo., and a master’s degree in religious education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Bennett met her husband, Don, at Southern Seminary, and they married in February 1967. For the next 16 years, she held a variety of positions including elementary and high school teacher; new mother; kindergarten director for First Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga.; and staff member of First Baptist Church, Milledgeville, Ga. The Bennetts moved to Tuscaloosa in 1981 when Don was called to serve as a Baptist campus minister at the University of Alabama. They became members of First, Tuscaloosa, where Lance would begin serving as pastor in 1983 — and the rest is history.
“Personally, I am extremely grateful for all she has done to help me in my ministry both in the pastorate and at the SBOM,” Lance said. “Mary Sue is one of those ‘saints behind the scenes.’”
Bennett said she will always treasure the relationships formed at SBOM. “It’s been a delightful and grand opportunity working together with a common cause, trying to serve Alabama Baptists. It’s a lot of fun,” she said, adding her appreciation and gratitude to Lance for the opportunity to serve together in ministry.
The Bennetts plan to move back to Tuscaloosa. They have two children and four grandchildren.