Cullen receives ministers' wives' award

by Shannon Baker, posted Friday, June 13, 2008 (10 years ago)

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Joy Cullen, a pastor's wife, Sunday School teacher, adjunct professor and former International Mission Board missionary in Asia, was honored with the 2008 Willie Turner Dawson Award during the Ministers' Wives' Luncheon June 10 at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis.

She is the wife of Bob Cullen, pastor of Bear Creek Baptist Church in Glenn Heights, Texas, where she teaches a Sunday School class for "senior saints" and sings in the choir. Cullen serves as director of the Naylor Children's Center and is an adjunct professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Cullens previously served in Asia with the International Mission Board for more than 36 years. She wrote many teacher commentaries and Bible study lessons in the Singhalese, Tamil and Thai languages. She taught at the Thailand and Malaysian Baptist seminaries and developed extensive curriculum for children, youth and adults.

Her ministry also included teacher training, adult discipleship, parent and family life conferences and Christian childhood education. The couple retired from IMB service in 2004.

Cullen said that until recently she had never been a pastor's wife. Instead, she spent many years as a missionary's wife.

"I am accepting this award on behalf of Mrs. William Carey [former missionary to India] and all those missionary wives who served before me and are serving now," she said.

She asked missionary wives in the room to stand and accept the award with her.

The Cullens have four children -- two serving in Indonesia with the IMB and two in Christian service in the United States. They have eight grandchildren.

Cullen is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The award is presented to ministers' wives who have made a distinct denominational contribution. It was first awarded in 1958, when it was known as the Distinguished Service Award.

In 1963, Mrs. J.M. Dawson was to be the recipient; however, she died in April that year and her daughter received the award. In a business session that year, the ministers' wives group adopted a recommendation that the award be called the Mrs. J.M. Dawson Award. In 2006, the name was changed to the Willie Turner Dawson Award.

Shannon Baker is the national correspondent for BaptistLIFE, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.

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