New ministerial scholarship honors Bishop's leadership

Amelia Bishop said two feelings arose when she found out Wayland Baptist University's Division of Religion had named a new endowed scholarship in her honor.

"I felt two things: First, very humbled, then supremely grateful for the honor," she said.

Bishop, known as "Millie" to most folks, downplays her role in Texas missions leadership over the past decades. But to those in the know, Bishop has been a leading force among women in ministry leadership. She's also a familiar face statewide for many reasons.

Bishop graduated from what is now the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also earned a master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and met J. Ivyloy Bishop, who was then the first national director of Royal Ambassadors, a mission interest group for boys.

The couple came to Wayland in 1955, when Mr. Bishop was hired as a professor in religion and eventually chaired that division. Mrs. Bishop was active as well, working full-time as a journalism teacher at Plainview High School and then at Wayland. After retirement, she continued to teach part-time before moving.

Bishop worked on the state staff for the Women's Missionary Union, an organization she would spend years serving. She also served as WMU state president from 1984-88, and has served on various committees for the Baptist General Convention of Texas for more than 25 years.

Now a freelance writer living in Austin, Bishop has written two devotional books and a biography of Eula Mae Henderson as well as many Sunday School lessons for the Baptist Standard. But she avoids any praise that comes her way.

"The older I get, the more convinced I am that anything and everything we do of merit is because God gave us the capability, He gave us the opportunity, and He took it and went where He wanted with it," she said.

The scholarship, officially named the Amelia Bishop Women's Ministerial Scholarship, was created in Dec. 2001 with two major gifts given to assist religion students. Desiring to honor women studying for the ministry, the Division of Religion opted to name the award for Bishop.

"The scholarship attempts to honor Mrs. Bishop's numerous accomplishments for the cause of Christ, to recognize her worldwide missions influence on the lives of many generations, and to thank her for a life of exemplary Christian ministry," said Micheal Summers, director of church services. "She is truly a model for young women answering God's calling."

Wayland officials hope others who desire to help equip young women for missions and ministry will support the scholarship, which will be set up as an endowment through Texas Baptist Foundation.

"Women make up 40 percent of all ministry students in Texas Baptist schools, we thought this would be a good way to help those students," Summers added. "In trying to find a relevant model of women in ministry, the obvious choice was Millie Bishop, especially with her ties to Wayland and her history of service in missions and ministry."

Individuals wishing to contribute to the Bishop Scholarship may send donations to Wayland Baptist University, Development, 1900 West 7th St., Plainview, Texas 79072. For more information, contact Martha Cross at (806) 291-3427.