VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/24/15)—Janet Loraine (Herring) DeWitt, 88—administrator of the Macedonia Ministries program, part of the Personal and Public Witness Unit of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), when it was known as National Ministries in the early 1980s—died Thursday at Sanford Foundation Hospice, Sioux Falls, S.D. She was wife of the late Dr. William S. DeWitt.
She was involved with American Baptist Churches USA throughout her life. In addition to Macedonia Ministries, she served as a member of the General Board and the Biennial Program Committee. She served as American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) elected coordinator of conference, leading planning of the organization’s national women’s conferences, 2000-2003. She was a presenter and contributing writer for ABWM’s “Real Women Real Leaders” leadership training modules.
DeWitt began her career as director of Christian Education at First Baptist Church, Sioux Falls, and later worked at the Center for Women at Sioux Falls College. When she retired in 1998, she had been developing, coordinating and leading conferences as vice president of programming at Green Lake (Wis.) Conference Center.
After retiring, she spoke at women’s conferences and retreats throughout the United States. During summers, she and her husband attended the annual Family Life Conference that she developed at Green Lake Conference Center. They spent winters in Green Valley, Ariz., where they attended Valley Presbyterian Church.
“An executive minister wrote upon hearing the news of Jan’s passing, ‘Jan was an amazing, gifted woman of God and a wonderful mentor to so many—including me,’” says David Laubach, retired associate executive director of ABHMS’ Higher Education Ministries, and board chairman of Green Lake Conference Center.
Laubach adds, “It was my privilege to work with Jan as her successor when I coordinated the Macedonia Ministries program for National Ministries, as I planned conferences at Green Lake and as a conference co-leader with her. I, too, am thankful for Jan’s long and effective ministry and that she was a partner in ministry who generously shared her friendship and gifts.”
A daughter of the late Rev. James and Grace (Collier) Herring, she was born in Woodstock, Ill., in 1926. DeWitt and her husband were married in 1953. She earned a master’s degree from Berkley (Calif.) Baptist Divinity School and a bachelor’s degree from Linfield College, McMinnville, Ore.
She enjoyed participating in Bible studies and such philanthropic groups as the American Association of University Women.
She is survived by children Jeanne, Jim and Bill; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren with a fifth on the way.
A public visitation was held Sunday afternoon at Miller Funeral Home, 507 S. Main Avenue, Sioux Falls. Additional private memorial services will be held by the family.
Memorials may be sent to First Baptist Church, Sioux Falls, the University of Sioux Falls or the American Baptist Assembly at Green Lake.
ABHMS—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.