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Nashville Church to be Led by Female Co-pastoral Team

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  • umcornet
    A Nashville church that called an openly gay woman to be an associate pastor has elevated her to co-pastor. ... Nashville Church to be Led by Female
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 22, 2004
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      A Nashville church that called an openly gay woman to be an associate
      pastor has elevated her to co-pastor.

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      Nashville Church to be Led by Female Co-pastoral Team
      By Robert Marus
      November 22, 2004
      Associated Baptist Press

      NASHVILLE (ABP) -- A Tennessee church that raised controversy after
      calling an openly gay woman to be an associate pastor has now
      elevated her to co-pastor -- and called another woman from Georgia to
      complete the pastoral team.

      Nashville's Glendale Baptist Church has called April Baker and Amy
      Mears to be its co-pastors. Mears, previously a Cooperative Baptist
      Fellowship-endorsed chaplain at University Hospital in Augusta, Ga.,
      will begin preaching responsibilities Nov. 28.

      Baker has been the church's associate pastor since 2002. News about
      her and her sexuality raised controversy in the Nashville Baptist
      Association and Tennessee Baptist Convention. In 2003, the state
      convention cut ties with Glendale over the issue.

      Baker has served in the church's main pastoral role on an interim
      basis since March 2003, when longtime pastor Mark Caldwell retired.
      Her partner, Deborah Lynn, is also a Glendale member.

      A South Carolina native, Baker holds an undergraduate degree from
      Furman University and a master's degree from Southern Baptist
      Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. She has been a leader in both
      the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America and the Alliance of
      Baptists. She helped lead a retreat that formed the basis for a
      resource guide co-published by both organizations that is designed to
      help churches talk about sexual-orientation issues.

      Mears, herself a South Carolina native and graduate of Furman and
      Southern Seminary, has served as a chaplain, pastor, associate pastor
      and teacher. She has been a member of the CBF Coordinating Council
      and on the board of directors of Baptist Women in Ministry. She and
      her husband, David Webb, have four young children.

      Glendale is affiliated with CBF, the Alliance and the gay-friendly
      Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. With the addition of
      Mears to the staff, Glendale will have an all-female ministerial
      team. Its other staff pastors -- ministers of music and youth -- are
      women.

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