WASHINGTON D.C. (July 25, 2010) – Ruth Hill choked back tears as she told women gathered at Triennial XIII Saturday that she would not seek re-election as executive minister of the Department of Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church.
Hill made the announcement at the noontime Women Ministries Celebration, which highlights the various activities of the department. Click here for a brief video segment where Hill shares the discernment process she followed in reaching this decision.
Hill was elected as executive director of Covenant Women Ministries in 1999. The name was changed to Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church as part of a constitutional overhaul in 2004, which also changed titles from executive director to executive minister.
A runner, Hill likened each of her terms to a mile with four laps, noting she has been seeking God’s will as to whether she should continue. “He has been very clear that I am ready to pass the baton.”
During Hill’s tenure, Women Ministries launched Advocacy for Victims of Abuse, raised more than $200,000 for Educate the Girls, which has helped provide schooling in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and raised more than $400,000 for the anti-human trafficking initiative called Break the Chains. The ministry also started the Raise the Flag project, which has enabled more women to travel internationally to be at the conference and connect with local churches.
Hill previously served as a missionary in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo along with her husband, Brad, for 19 years. The Association of Covenant Clergy Women honored Hill with the Evelyn M.R. Johnson Leadership Award during the 125th Annual Meeting in June. The award recognizes a female minister in the Covenant who has demonstrated excellence in ministry based on character, ministerial identity, contribution to the Covenant and faithfulness to call. Prior to Hill’s announcement, ACCW board member Valeyo Garrett, led a re-enactment of that presentation.
Hill told the gathering she reluctantly answered an altar call at Triennial IX for women to come forward if they believed God was calling them to become more involved with the ministry. “I stood there on that platform weeping, praying Oh God, please don’t put me in Deirdre’s (Banks) chair. It was his call on my life.”
She added that, “This has been a wonderful journey. I have so relished seeing God so mightily at work. As I finish my lap with my baton, I know – I know – God is already preparing the woman to whom that baton will be given for that next lap, for that next season in the life of Women Ministries in the Evangelical Covenant Church.”
Hill said she doesn’t have any definite plans after she leaves this position. “I’m waiting for God to reveal that,” she said, adding, “I’m on tiptoe to see how he wants to use me next.”
A reception for Hill and other past Women Ministries board leaders followed Saturday evening’s concert by recording artist Natalie Grant. Hill will preach at the closing Triennial worship service this morning (Sunday).