The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is expanding its advocacy work with the addition of two new staff members announced Nov. 30.
Jennifer Hawks, associate general counsel for Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., has been named CBF’s director of advocacy. Sharon Felton, associate pastor for students at Faith Baptist in Georgetown, Ky., has been named congregational advocacy manager.
CBF’s advocacy work began 10 years ago under the leadership of then-Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter, who hired Stephen Reeves to launch the initative. Reeves left that role two years ago to head Fellowship Southwest, a CBF-affiliated ministry along the Texas-Mexico border.
Like Reeves, Hawks is trained as both a lawyer and a theologian. She earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi and a master of divinity degree from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University.
In her work at BJC and before, she has had experience in legislative advocacy, legal advocacy and coalition building within and beyond Washington, D.C. She has worked nine years with BJC, a First Amendment advocacy and watchdog group supported by multiple Baptist bodies, including CBF.
Hawks will continue to live and work in Washington, D.C. She will focus on CBF’s national witness on advocacy issues including racial justice and public policy.
Felton’s work will take CBF’s national emphases into local congregations — a priority of CBF’s current strategic plan.
She has served the Kentucky church for nine years and has implemented grassroots advocacy programs supporting public education as the director of Pastors for Kentucky Children. She currently works alongside CBF’s Outreach and Growth team on racial justice projects and in advocacy efforts against predatory lending.
Felton earned a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Baylor University.