The famed Riverside Church in Manhattan has recommended the Rev. Amy Butler as its seventh senior minister, the first woman to lead the congregation in its 83-year-old history.
Butler has been senior minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., for 11 years. The church has about 300 members with an estimated 150 people in attendance on Sunday mornings.
When she arrived at Calvary, she inherited a church that had dwindled from 5,000 parishioners to about 70 on a Sunday. As pastor, she has pushed the downtown church to be more multicultural and oversaw a massive redevelopment of the church’s downtown property.
“Under her leadership the church has become an influential congregation in the nation’s capital and she has become a much sought-after voice for Progressive Christianity,” Riverside’s search committee said in a letter to the congregation.
A call to a Riverside spokesperson was not returned, and Butler said she was unable to talk to media before the vote on her Riverside candidacy.
If approved, Butler would join two other women who have been appointed to senior leadership at significant mainline congregations. The Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner will begin in May at Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli became senior pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington.
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