The Rev. Betty Jane Bailey of West Orange, N.J., and the Rev. María Teresa Unger Palmer of Chapel Hill, N.C., will receive Antoinette Brown Awards at General Synod 23, meeting in Kansas City, Mo., next month.
The award is named for the Rev. Antoinette Brown (1825-1921), the first woman formally ordained to the Christian ministry in a major Protestant denomination in America.
Formerly presented by the UCC's Coordinating Center for Women in Church and Society, the award is now facilitated through Local Church Ministries.
The Rev. Betty Jane Bailey worked until 1993 as the Associate Minister of Union Congregational Church in Upper Montclair, N.J.
In 1994, she and her husband, the Rev. J. Martin Bailey, moved to the Middle East as volunteer missionaries from the Common Global Ministries Board, where she worked for the Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem and the Middle East Council of Churches.
She is the co-author of "Living Stones Pilgrimage with the Christians of the Holy Land" and the author of other books and magazine articles, many on the Middle East.
The Rev. María Teresa Unger Palmer has been tireless in her ministry on behalf of Latinas and their children.
She is a new church pastor of Iglesia Unida de Cristo, in Chapel Hill, N.C., where her congregation has grown during her three-year ministry.
Palmer founded the Orange County Partnership for Children—Mi Escuelita Spanish Immersion Preschool, is involved with after-school tutoring programs for at-risk Hispanic students, and is part of an interfaith initiative, Project Amistad.
Appointed by the Governor of North Carolina to the State Board of Education, she advocates on behalf of Hispanic students and their families.