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Announcement of the Finalist for the next Senior Minister by the Senior Minister Search Committee
Posted on Riverside Blog April 27, 2014

Click the link above to download a PDF of this letter.

Click here to download a PDF of the materials that are being mailed out to each Riverside member about Rev. Dr. Butler and the voting procedures for June 8.

April 27, 2014

Dear Members of Riverside,

Today the Senior Minister Search Committee announced that The Rev. Dr. Amy K. Butler is our choice to become the seventh Senior Minister of The Riverside Church. As you know, the By-Laws permit us to recommend only one person for your consideration. During the next few weeks, Rev. Butler will meet the Congregation and the Staff and you will have an opportunity to learn more about her before it is time for you to vote on her candidacy in June.

Rev. Butler has been Senior Minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC for the past 11 years. 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.

A 1991 graduate with the Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and political science from Baylor University, Waco TX, she received the equivalent of the Master of Divinity degree in 1995 from the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Ruschlikon Switzerland and was awarded the Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC, in 2008. She was licensed to the Gospel ministry in 1992 and ordained in 1997. She writes regularly for denominational publications and for a bi-weekly column distributed by the Associated Baptist Press news service.

In anticipating ministry at Riverside, Rev. Butler initially was drawn to the church’s legacy of great preaching and prophetic witness. Riverside’s first Senior Minister, Harry Emerson Fosdick, famously asked, “Shall the fundamentalists win?” Its fourth Senior Minister, William Sloan Coffin, was arrested for his anti-Vietnam war protests. And more recently the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr. has led a national crusade for the emancipation from poverty.

As Rev. Butler came to know us better, this heritage sharpened for her. “I have,” she said, “begun to wonder what mark an institution like Riverside might make on the future expression of church. This wondering is so exciting to me! Riverside’s diversity raises the potential of modeling how we live with and relate to one another. The human community is messy and sometimes painful. But to live into a vision of love within the tension of uncertainty and difference can be stunningly transformational. The possibilities are so great – small glimpses of God’s imagination and intent for the whole world!”

“Following a 22-month period of listening,” said Christian Rojas, co-chair of the Search Committee, “to the Riverside Congregation, to all the amazing candidates who applied for the Senior Minister position, and to each other on the Search Committee, we have prayerfully, deliberately, and in the end unanimously, selected Rev. Butler as our Finalist. We are convinced that she will be an inspired and inspiring minister for our beloved Riverside Church.”

Rev. Butler grew up in Hawaii and identifies herself as a Pacific Islander. She has three children: Hayden, 20, who attends the University of Hawaii as a sophomore; Hannah, 17, who is a junior in high school; and Sam, 16, who is a sophomore in high school.

Please keep Rev. Butler and her family in your prayers. Please also keep the Riverside Church in your prayers so the Holy Spirit may move among our open hearts as we seek to discern God’s will for us all.

The Senior Minister Search Committee