Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

The Quiet Revolutionary: Amelia Morton Bishop: Following Is the Story of a Simple Texas Housewife, Mother, Sometime Denominational Worker (Especially in the Woman's Missionary Union-WMU), Church Volunteer, School Teacher, University Professor, and Free-Lance Writer. (1) That Woman, Amelia Morton Bishop, Now Lives in Austin, Texas. to Our Way of Thinking, She Is a Quiet Revolutionary

Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

The Quiet Revolutionary: Amelia Morton Bishop: Following Is the Story of a Simple Texas Housewife, Mother, Sometime Denominational Worker (Especially in the Woman's Missionary Union-WMU), Church Volunteer, School Teacher, University Professor, and Free-Lance Writer. (1) That Woman, Amelia Morton Bishop, Now Lives in Austin, Texas. to Our Way of Thinking, She Is a Quiet Revolutionary

Article excerpt

The Early Years: 1920-1950

On New Year's Eve of 2004, Amelia Bishop ("Millie") celebrated her eighty-fourth birthday. (2) She was born on December 31, 1920, in Dallas, Texas, the only child of middle-aged parents, Walter and Alice Morton. In 1926, her father relocated to El Paso where she lived until her 1942 graduation with a degree in journalism from what is now the University of Texas at El Paso.

Millie grew up in what she describes as a Christian home, but her conversion experience occurred in an unlikely place--geography class. Her teacher pointed out Palestine on a map and indicated that this was the place where Jesus had been born and lived. As an eleven-year-old, Millie remembered being filled with joy. Jesus became real to her in that moment.

As the first woman editor of a college newspaper, Millie began a line of unique and interesting life events. Upon graduation, her father told her that if she wanted to work in journalism, she would have to go to a place where the work was, and that place was El Paso. Prospects for employment, along with an offer of a ride with friends, lured her to Los Angeles. Millie lived in an apartment near downtown Los Angeles and looked for work, which did not come quickly. She went to the city news service and was offered a position. The pay was exactly what she was making without work--nothing. The news services, however, promised to send her out on assignments if a news story broke.

Later, a position at the Hollywood Citizen News became available, and Millie went to work as a journalist. One night, the city editor yelled, "Hey, Tex." He then told her that the paper needed someone to cover the Academy Awards. Being resourceful, Millie invited another girl working at the paper to go with her. The girl had a fur coat of her own. Millie's invitation to the girl, however, was conditioned on her friend borrowing her mother's fur coat and allowing Millie to wear her friend's fur coat. Decked out in furs and star-struck, the girls saw numerous celebrities, including Cary Grant, Greer Garson, and Tyrone Power.

After a year in California, Millie, tired of living in tinsel town and homesick for the South, moved to New Orleans. She had visited New Orleans earlier and liked it very much. Upon arriving in her new town, Millie trained as a riveter, but the need for large planes had diminished by the time she finished her training. So she changed jobs and would change jobs about once a year for the next several years. Her places of employment included the Times-Picayune (working in the New Orleans newspaper's classified advertising department); Eastern Airlines; the Retail Credit Company (doing insurance investigation); and a theater group.

While working in public relations for the theater group, Millie met J. D. Grey, the pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans. Grey was on the theater group's board of directors, and he soon began encouraging Millie to attend church. Having been raised a Methodist, she was hesitant but agreed to study the matter. She began reading the New Testament, examining Baptist doctrines based on what she was reading. Soon she determined that Baptist views on the Lord's Supper and baptism were closer to the New Testament than the Methodist views. In 1948, Millie joined First Baptist Church and was baptized. Jumping in full force into church activities, she quickly began involved in Sunday School, Training Union, and Young Women's Auxiliary, and she worked on drama presentations.

At about age of twenty-six, Millie began to think about what she was doing with her life. Her parents had both died, and she was responsible to no one but herself. Was she doing anything to make the world a better place? At this point, Millie began to feel a call to full-time Christian ministry. In the early 1950s, the roles generally reserved for women in the church were director of youth or children's ministry, educational director, missionary, or music director. …

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