By John Pierce

Jackie Bowen showed up at Boynton Baptist Church in Ringgold, Ga., in the summer of 1975 to work with the youth. The Georgia Southern student from the mid-state town of Perry was welcomed to the hills of northwest Georgia where I was raised.

It was the first time we met.

JBR Photo IMGP8758 copyThe following summer Jackie and I were appointed to a 12-member collegiate team of Georgians to work at Bambi Lake, a beautiful camp in Michigan. It was a memorable 10-week experience during America’s bicentennial celebration.

Neither Jackie (now Jackie Bowen Riley) nor I could have imagined back then that someday we’d be colleagues in a publishing venture in Macon, Ga.

Shortly after accepting the editorship of Baptists Today, I was tasked with filling the position of managing editor. Jackie, who was working as book editor for Smyth & Helwys Publishing at the time, and I had lunch to recall embellished stories from our past.

Returning to my office that afternoon, I thought about the qualities needed in a managing editor: someone dependable, productive, cautious about details and knowledgeable of our audience. Yes, Jackie.

That was 15 years ago on Nov. 1, and I remain very pleased and grateful that she was open to sharing this venture. Jackie’s dedication, organization and eagle-eyed editing skills are integral to the accuracy, timeliness and quality of everything we publish.

Moving into book publishing — with the Nurturing Faith imprint — would not have been so successful without Jackie’s talents and commitments. Her name does not appear on the books but often her contributions are nearly as significant as the author’s.

In everything Jackie does, she makes others including me look better. So thanks Jackie for your superb contributions to Baptists Today/Nurturing Faith.

Who would have ever believed that our youthful days would lead to this?

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