By Robert Dilday
A pastor who for nearly 20 years has led Baptist churches in the South will take the helm of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in suburban Chicago, the school’s board of trustees announced Jan. 29.
William D. Shiell, currently pastor of First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., will become president of the century-old seminary in Lombard, Ill., on March 1.
“I am very excited to welcome Dr. Bill Shiell to the Northern community as president,” trustee chair James Stellwagen said in a press release. “He has impressed me with his integrity, his peaceful nature and his enthusiasm for the seminary’s mission. Bill will be both a strong leader and great partner, and I am eager for everyone to meet him and to continue to forge new ways to do Christ’s work here at Northern.”
Shiell, who will be the seminary’s 11th president, succeeds Alistair Brown, who will step down at the end of the current academic year.
Shiell has been pastor in Tallahassee since 2013, going there following a nine year pastorate at First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Earlier he was pastor of churches in San Angelo and McGregor, Texas.
He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and holds master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, has served as an adjunct professor at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., and is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. He also is a former member of Baptist News Global’s board of directors.
Shiell and his wife, Kelly, have two sons.
“I am honored and humbled to join the Northern Seminary community,” said Shiell. “Among the many things that draws me to Northern is its historic commitment to the full ordination of women and to the racial and ethnic diversity of the church. I am excited to join Northern as we discern God’s call to be the seminary for Christian leaders throughout metropolitan Chicago and the Midwest.”
“Northern Seminary is positioned to equip the church in a personal, biblical and missional way that transforms lives, reconciles people and trains women and men to fulfill God’s call …,” he added. “Through innovative new technology and accessible new degree programs, Northern is ready to prepare the next generation of leaders within ministry contexts both in metro Chicago and around the world.”
Northern Seminary was founded in 1913 in Chicago and in the 1960s moved its campus to Lombard, about 14 miles west of the city. It maintains ties with the American Baptist Churches USA, the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. and the Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.