Amy Butler (minister)

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Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, "Pastor Amy," is the 7th Senior Minister at The Riverside Church in New York City. She is the first woman to hold the position of Senior Minister since the church opened in 1930.[1]


Amy Butler attended Baylor University from which she received a Bachelor of Arts in 1991 and a Master of Arts in 1995. She also holds a Bachelor of Theology from the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, as well as a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary.[2]


Following her graduation from Wesley Theological Seminary, Butler served as a missionary in New Orleans, Louisiana through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. She then served on the staff of Lindy's Place,[3] a transitional home providing care for some of New Orleans' most underprivileged members.[4] Butler then became Associate Pastor of Membership and Mission at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church, also in New Orleans.

In 2003, Butler became Senior Minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, the founding church of the Northern Baptist Convention, now American Baptist Churches USA. As Calvary's first female Senior Minister, Butler helped Calvary more than triple in membership.[1] Her work at Calvary was featured in Paul Nixon's book We Refused to Lead a Dying Church!: Churches That Came Back Against All Odds.[4] She held this position until 2014, at which time she accepted the Senior Minister position at The Riverside Church.

The Riverside Church[edit]

Butler was elected to the Senior Minister position on June 8, 2014. The Riverside Church is an interdenominational church located in Upper Manhattan, in Morningside Heights. In 2008 it was described as "a stronghold of activism and debate throughout its 75 year history...influential on the nation's religious and political landscapes".[5] Construction of the church was financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr..

The church has had a variety of notable speakers in its history. Martin Luther King Jr. voiced his opposition to the Vietnam War on April 4, 1967.[6] Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy for Jackie Robinson's funeral service. Other speakers include President Bill Clinton, Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and Desmond Tutu.

Former senior ministers include James A. Forbes, William Sloane Coffin, and Harry Emerson Fosdick.

Personal life[edit]

Butler was born in Hawaii and is the mother of three children.[4] She is divorced.[7]


  1. ^ a b "After Period of Turmoil, Riverside Church Elects New Leader", "The New York Times"
  2. ^ "D.C. Pastor Becomes First Woman to Head N.Y.C.'s Influential Riverside Church" "The Washington Post"
  3. ^ "Lindy's Place"
  4. ^ a b c "Senior Minister Biography" "The Riverside Church"
  5. ^ "A Warm Embrace for Riverside Church's First Female Leader" "New York Times"
  6. ^ "Letter from Robert J McCracken to MLK"
  7. ^ West, Melanie Grayce (April 3, 2015). "Amy K. Butler Takes On New Challenges at New York City's Riverside Church". Wall Street Journal.