Jewell Woodward Awarded General Superintendent's Medal of Honor
In the 100-plus year history of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, only two people have the distinct record of having worked full time for 50 years at the national office -- Gwen Jones, who received the General Superintendent's Medal of Honor in 1991, and Jewell Branstetter Woodward.
In the Thursday afternoon business session at General Council in Orlando, Woodward joined Jones as a recipient of the prestigious award -- the highest award the Assemblies of God bestows upon a lay person.
As a teenager in the early 1960's Woodward's desire was to someday work at the "big, blue building" on Boonville Avenue.
Upon graduation from Central High School in 1965, Woodward began her first day of employment on June 8 as a teletype perforator in Composing with a weekly salary of $52. Ten months later on April 11, 1966, she transferred to Secretariat, which was under the office of the General Secretary with a $2 a week increase in pay. Woodward steadily moved through that office as clerk typist, stenographer clerk, and supervisor. In May 1972, then General Secretary Bartlett Peterson tapped her to become his personal secretary with a pay increase to $125.50 a week.
In 1976 when Joseph R. Flower was elected to the office of General Secretary and again in 1994 when George O. Wood became general secretary, her expertise in this office was recognized and she was invited to remain as their secretary, later known as executive administrative assistant.
"Jewell has assisted onsite for General Councils from Miami, Florida, in 1973, to Portland, Oregon, and many points in between," says Wood, now general superintendent. "I'm sure the memories she has from these Councils would make for a very interesting read!"
In 2007 when Wood was elected general superintendent, she was given the opportunity to either stay with the General Secretary's office or move up the hall with the general superintendent, which she chose to do.
Southern Missouri District Superintendent Don E. Miller writes of Woodward: Along with 40-plus hours of work each week at the national office, marriage in 1969 to James Woodward, the births of their three sons -- Jeffrey in 1971, Jonathan in 1975, and Joel in 1981, Jewell Woodward has been heavily involved in their local church -- Central Assembly of God.
Pastor Jeff Peterson says of Woodward: "Faithful" and "servant" are two of the words that come to mind immediately when describing Jewell. Over the years, her incredible culinary and hostess giftings have been used for the Kingdom, preparing literally hundreds of meals for Girls Ministries Mother/Daughter banquets and Honor Star crownings, Royal Rangers Dads 'n Lads weekends and Council of Achievement celebrations, as well as missions events, and coordinating dinners and picnics for their Sunday school class. She also shared her leadership ministry by serving six years on the deacon board at Central Assembly."
"They say if you want something done, ask a busy person and that was often the case with Jewell," Wood says. "Her infectious laughter and willing heart and hand to help wherever she could have made an indelible mark on many lives…from sewing costumes for children's programs to making sure a young couple with very limited resources had a beautiful wedding cake for their wedding reception.
"For a life of service bringing glory to God and this Fellowship," Wood continues, "it gives me great honor to confer upon Jewell Branstetter Woodward the church's highest award for lay persons, the General Superintendent's Medal of Honor."