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1546Former SBC church Pullen Memorial Calls Lesbian Pastor

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    May 4, 2002

      Sunday, April 28, 2002
      Pullen Memorial breaks new ground
      By YONAT SHIMRON, Staff Writer
      Raleigh News & Observer


      The Rev. Nancy Petty sat in her office last Sunday afternoon with the
      Bible opened in her lap. She closed her eyes and meditated on a verse
      she had committed to memory. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      and do not rely on your own insight," Proverbs 3:5.

      Downstairs, the sanctuary of Pullen Memorial Baptist was filling up.
      In a few minutes, congregants of this 850-member church would vote on
      whether to call Petty as a co-pastor, alongside the Rev. Jack

      It would be a momentous vote. If approved by a required three-fourths
      vote, it would mean Petty would become the first woman in the
      church's 118-year history to lead this downtown Raleigh congregation.
      More than that, it would mean she would be the church's first lesbian
      pastor. <MORE>

      Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Co-Pastor Proposal

      On November 5, 2001, the Deacon Council, Coordinating Council and
      Personnel Committee introduced the congregation to a proposal by Jack
      McKinney that the church consider calling Nancy Petty as co-pastor.

      Several documents related to that proposal and the subsequent
      congregational discussions are provided for information:


      From the Baptist Press (Southern Baptist Convention)

      Former SBC church taps lesbian as co-pastor
      Apr 30, 2002
      By Staff
      RALEIGH, N.C. (BP)--Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C.,
      voted to name a self-described lesbian as co-pastor April 21, the
      Raleigh News & Observer reported April 28.

      Pullen Memorial, as described by the newspaper, "won the distinction
      of being the first church expelled from the Southern Baptist
      Convention for agreeing to hold a gay union ceremony" in 1992. In
      actuality, the SBC enacted a constitutional change disqualifying
      churches that affirm homosexuality from sending messengers to the
      SBC annual meeting or from donating to the SBC.

      The church's new lesbian co-pastor, Nancy Petty, 38, has been with
      the church as minister of Christian education since 1992.
      Previously, she was a youth minister at St. John's Baptist Church in
      Charlotte, N.C., according to the News & Observer.

      Petty is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in
      Wake Forest, N.C., a key flash point in the SBC's
      conservative-liberal struggle during the 1980s. The newspaper
      reported that, "At Southeastern, Petty had her first relationship
      with a woman." Petty earlier earned an undergraduate degree from
      Gardner-Webb University, a Baptist-affiliated college in Boiling
      Springs, N.C.

      Pullen Memorial's constitution states that the congregation is
      affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists, a liberal breakaway group
      from the SBC, and the American Baptist Churches of the U.S.A.

      The News & Observer reported that naming Petty as co-pastor required
      a three-fourths vote at a business meeting; neither the attendance
      nor vote at the church's April 21 meeting was noted in the
      newspaper's April 28 article. The idea of naming Petty as co-pastor
      was initiated by the church's pastor, Jack McKinney, the paper

      The 118-year-old church has 850 members and is located in downtown
      Raleigh near North Carolina State University.

      According to the News & Observer, Petty and her partner, Vickie Lee,
      have two daughters, Jasmine, 9, and Russian-born Nora, 4.

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