Refugees who resettle on the western edge of North Carolina’s Research Triangle benefit from the same passion and commitment to excellence Delores Stimpson provided Fortune 500 companies throughout her long career as a director of information technology programs.
They also receive blessings from her deep well of compassion, empathy for overcoming challenges and belief that Jesus meant what he said about loving your neighbor as yourself.
Stimpson became manager of the Welcome House Community Network’s Triangle West region, which provides temporary residences for newly arriving refugees, Jan. 1. Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt founded the ministry in Raleigh, N.C., in 2015. Stimpson serves through Global Service Corps, a CBF program that offers mission opportunities to young college graduates and post-career volunteers, who serve alongside field personnel.
Stimpson manages the ministries of Welcome Houses in Chapel Hill, Durham and Hillsborough. She became affiliated with Welcome House when she helped Temple Baptist Church in Durham, her home congregation, open a house in 2020. Then she started coordinating work on the west side of the Research Triangle as a volunteer in 2022.
Stimpson will be commissioned as a Global Service Corps missionary twice — she was commissioned regionally at Temple Baptist Church during its 11 a.m. worship service, March 12, and will be commissioned again during the CBF General Assembly in Atlanta, June 28-30. She will be a member of CBF Global Missions’ International North America Team.
Her path to this ministry began years ago, when she grew up in Yadkin County, N.C., where she loved to fish and do her homework on the banks of the Yadkin River. History does not record how well she fished, but she excelled at homework. As a high school senior, she became a National Merit Scholar and received full-scholarship offers from 43 universities across the country.
Her father offered wisdom that helped her make the choice that was right for her. “He explained to me, ‘I raised you to be rich in the Spirit of God, but some of the students you meet will believe “rich” means having everything they want,’” she recalled. “He said, ‘I know you will do well, but with two children already in college, we don’t have the means to buy you a new wardrobe, send you money or pay sorority dues.’ I so appreciated that honesty.”
She chose Winston-State University, one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and “right down Highway 67 from where I grew up,” Stimpson said. “I had professors who understood what it was like to be me, who related to me, and I enjoyed it.”
She married her high-school sweetheart, Jerry Stimpson, a U.S. Army officer, and became a military wife and mother, living on bases alongside other military families during the Vietnam War.
When he left the military, Jerry accepted a position with the federal government and eventually transitioned to state and local levels to minimize frequent moves to multiple locations. Eventually, they settled in Durham.
Along the way, “I started teaching myself about computers,” she said. That led to an entry-level job, but she kept learning, compounding her self-education with formal courses.
As her career expanded, Delores spent years as a weekly commuter, managing programs based in the United States and across multiple foreign locations, including India, France, South America, London, Paris and Rotterdam. She worked at Two World Trade Center in New York and decided to make a career change after losing hundreds of colleagues on 9/11.
“As a woman of color, I heard my share of queries about my qualifications. I turned them into long-lasting friendships.”
Despite her success, her path was a challenge. “As a woman of color, I heard my share of queries about my qualifications,” she acknowledged. “I turned them into long-lasting friendships.
“For example, I walked into a board room in Florida, and the CEO said to me in front of everyone, ‘You’re Black.” He just didn’t expect a Black woman in my position. I saw an empty chair next to him and knew that was where I was going to sit. … I determined to turn hurtful situations into something that would develop into a friendship. … And to be successful, you have to gain the trust and confidence of the people you’re working with.”
Such confidence bore fruit at the height of her career, when the CEO of Fidelity Investments chose her, out of 40,000 employees, to manage complex programs costing more than $100 million, she said.
Toward the end of her career and especially after retirement, she poured her energy and skill into Temple Baptist Church, where she served as a Sunday school teacher, treasurer and deacon chair. And Temple’s Welcome House residents snuggled up close to her heart.
When Marc Wyatt recruited Stimpson to expand beyond Temple’s house and coordinate Welcome Houses on the west side of the Triangle, he mentioned Global Service Corps as a “post-career opportunity.”
“I said, ‘There’s no such thing as post-career,’” she reported. “I’ve had a full career, and I’m still working. It’s just a different career. Now, I have the time to do things I wanted to do years ago. I could not turn that down.”
For his part, Wyatt is delighted Stimpson accepted the challenge.
“Delores is right for this task because she has succeeded in life, both professionally and personally, during a time when being a confident, well-educated and purpose-driven woman of color has been nothing short of heroic,” he said. “She’s a person whose faith has been forged through life experiences I never will fully understand.
“Delores has so much to offer when it comes to sharing the love of God with strangers who become neighbors.”
Larry Hovis, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, expressed similar sentiments.
“In many ways, Welcome House has become the most visible face of CBFNC’s mission distinctive, ‘Embracing Neighbors,’” Hovis said. “It has become not just a network, but a movement that has spread beyond Raleigh to all parts of our state and beyond.
Stimpson’s appointment will extend the reach and ministry of Welcome House, Wyatt added.
“By encouraging the hospitality and housing ministries of local churches in Durham, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, this new field appointment will empower, mobilize and train volunteers, develop resources and give a platform for creative ministries to grow and flourish,” he explained. “This mission effort is a call to reclaim the Christian practice of hospitality in churches and in the homes of church members.
Wyatt also hopes Stimpson’s example will inspire others. “At a time when the mission field is ready for a great harvest, God has answered our prayers for more workers,” he said. “That prayer is also for the many — even a hundred gifted and experienced persons like Delores — to follow her example and say: ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me!’”
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