Mary Jo Lauderdale Engaged Her Calling to Women’s Ministries
Mary Jo Lauderdale recently retired after 14 years as NCC women’s ministries coordinator. “Women throughout the conference have been blessed by Mary Jo’s leadership,” said President Marc Woodson. “We have greatly appreciated her passion for ministry and her servant heart.”
Lauderdale worked tirelessly to achieve her department’s goal: “a ministry for every woman.” She made it a priority to ensure that her Women’s Ministries Advisory Council represented the various ethnic groups and regions of the NCC.
During her tenure, Lauderdale implemented a variety of programs, including the popular Turning Points leadership conferences and Women of Wisdom panels. Other initiatives established under her leadership include the NCC enditnow (abuse prevention) Task Force, the Young Women’s Advisory Board, the Breast Cancer Awareness and Support Program, and more. She also assisted local church women’s ministry efforts by providing money, resources, and personal encouragement.
In 2010, Lauderdale began the Congo Widows Mission Project, which raised money to purchase goats for widows in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As a result, hundreds of Congolese women have become financially independent.
The project also helped build a large church, drilled wells, distributed truckloads of food, provided school supplies, held bereavement classes for widows, started a bakery, shipped hundreds of eyeglasses, and provided medical supplies and seeds. In 2012, Lauderdale went with several NCC women and others to conduct evangelistic meetings in the DRC. About 5,000 people were baptized after those efforts.
In 2017, Lauderdale received a North American Division Excellence in Ministry Award, but her longest-lasting reward will be the legacy she leaves in the lives she has touched.
“Mary Jo has been integral to the growth and success of women’s ministry in the Northern California Conference,” said Anna McMillen, Advisory Board secretary. “She loves the Lord with all her heart, and that shines through in all she does. Her passion inspires those around her. Her commitment to women’s ministries and the Congo Widows Mission Project is unsurpassed, and we will greatly miss her leadership – but can’t wait to see where the Lord will lead her next.”