By Bob Allen
Willene Pierce, a former leader in Woman’s Missionary Union and the Baptist World Alliance, who in 1997 launched a full-time ministry with Native American women, died March 18.
Pierce, 71, accepted Christ in 1952 during a revival in a Native American church while vacationing with her grandparents in Oklahoma. She worked as Baptist Women/Baptist Young Women director for Arkansas WMU from 1974 until 1982 before leading Maryland/Delaware WMU as executive director from 1982 until 1995.
She served briefly as director of the Women’s Department of Baptist World Alliance between 1995 and 1997 before returning to Oklahoma to launch a ministry called The Native American LINK, Inc. (Living in Neighborly Kindness).
The ministry became best known for its Native Praise Choir, representing over 20 tribes singing the languages of the Cherokee, Muscogee and Choctaw tribes, which performed at the Baptist World Congress in England in 2005.
Pierce retired as executive director of LINK in 2013 but continued as a consultant on the executive board. Last year she was recognized for 50 years of service among Native American women and honored at the annual session of the Oklahoma Indian Evangelism Conference for service to the Native American Baptist work.
Pierce lived in Springdale, Ark. She is survived by her mother, Wenonah Meyer, four sisters and a brother and numerous nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made in her name to the Native American LINK, P.O. Box 470974, Tulsa, OK 74147.