Former SBC church Pullen Memorial Calls Lesbian Pastor
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
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
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
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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