Merea Ministry making strides despite pandemic

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, August 5, 2020

New Merea Ministry executive director Terrie Harwood, retired director Doris Knight, and board president Jennifer Kowolski.


Merea Ministry continues to move forward and make improvements, even as the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought new challenges not faced before.

Merea is a nonprofit ministry operating under a 501C3. Their mission is to help women acquire life skills to be successful. Men are also served by the ministry’s outreach.

Longtime executive director Doris Knight retired at the close of 2019 after 20 years of serving the needs of Panola County, and always being available for anyone who needed her help. “The word no wasn’t in her vocabulary,” said board member Iris Holloway.

The Merea board of directors held a celebration/open house in recognition of Knight’s accomplishments. “She was a  go getter and never stopped working for the Lord,” Holloway said.

At the celebration, the Merea Ministry Board honored her with a brick of her own at the National Women’s Missionary Unions Walk of Faith walkway in Birmingham, Ala. She and her husband are transitioning into retirement, but Knight is available to the executive board when needed.

Never too far from the ministry, located at 358 Hwy. 6, Knight was recently seen planting flowers in the pots outside the front door.

Meanwhile,  Terrie Harwood, who has been on the board for 20 years and served as president has stepped up into the role of executive director. Harwood attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where she received a master’s in Christian education with an emphasis in social work.

She attends Shady Grove Baptist Church with her husband Terry and daughter Mattie. Mr. Harwood is the IT manager at First National Bank of Oxford and Mattie is now a senior at South Panola High School.

Their son Jonathan has a degree in social science education from Delta State University (Terrie’s alma mater)  and is pursuing a master’s in history at Ole Miss. He also serves as pastor of Berea Baptist Church in Dundee.

Before accepting the job of executive director at Merea, Harwood served as ministry assistant for Panola Baptist Association. In her role there she wore many hats, including the Son-Rise Baptist Summer Camp at Sardis Lake. She has also been a Girl Scout group leader for many years..

Merea Ministry strives to take care nutritional needs of program participants with the support of the South Panola Food Bank and in conjunction with Panola Baptist Association.  Ministry volunteers also tutor individuals with reading problems, conduct classes for dyslexia, and sponsor GED preparation as needed.

“We know that even in these troubled times God is still in control,” Holloway said.

Harwood may be reached at 662-578-4928 with questions, or to make arrangements to receive donations. Support may also be sent by mail to:  Merea Ministry, P.O. Box 1326,  Batesville, MS  38606.

“The Merea Ministry board thanks everyone in the community who has supported this ministry,” Holloway said.

More about the board and its goals is available at the ministry’s website at