(ABP) D.C.’s Amy Butler is selected for senior minister at Riverside Church in New York

Washington pastor Amy Butler is a search committee’s candidate to be the next senior minister at Riverside Church in New York City, one of the most prominent congregations in mainline Protestantism.

The search committee’s selection of Butler, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, was announced April 27. The first woman pastor in the church’s history, she will be formally introduced to the congregation May 4, with a vote expected June 8.

Since it opened its doors in 1930, Riverside has been a bastion of progressive Christianity. Officially affiliated with both the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ, it describes itself as interdenominational. The church’s neo-gothic tower is a visible landmark in its Manhattan neighborhood which includes Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. Its pastors ”” including Harry Emerson Fosdick, William Sloane Coffin and James Forbes Jr. ”” have been influential voices in American theological and political life.

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One comment on “(ABP) D.C.’s Amy Butler is selected for senior minister at Riverside Church in New York

  1. Jeff Walton says:

    This story illustrates the vast difference in how oldline churches define success compared to Evangelical churches. Butler inherited a downtown congregation that was once 5,000 members and had declined to an attendance of 70. In 11 years as the congregation’s senior pastor, attendance rebounded to 150 — she is now hailed as a turnaround pastor and being promoted to the pulpit of Riverside.

    Butler’s church, Calvary Baptist, rents space to an Evangelical congregation (Grace DC, a PCA church started in 2003) that has around 5-600 mostly young attendees on a given Sunday and has planted two churches. Doesn’t that say something about the opportunities in the downtown DC area, and how Calvary Baptist isn’t fully reflecting the revitalized neighborhood the way umpteen Evangelical church plants are?

    I’m not certain how the pastor of a 150-ASA church is qualified to lead Riverside, but considering that they lost almost 1,000 members since 2008, perhaps they are resolved to a smaller future.