October 24, 2019
To the Editor:
As a member of Riverside Church for over 30 years I feel it important to respond to the opinion piece of October 17, 2019, by Kurt Adams concerning the departure of Amy Butler as Riverside’s Senior Minister. Mr. Adams’ version of the process leading to Rev. Butler’s departure is just that, his version. As the only member of our Church Council who voted to retain her, he was outvoted by the Council’s 17 other members, many of whom had supported Rev. Butler throughout her tenure. I am certain that their versions of the facts of the case would diverge from his. However, they choose to honor the confidentiality agreement which Mr. Adams chose to ignore.
When Mr. Adams and other disgruntled members recently called a congregational meeting to affirm and thank Rev. Butler, Mr. Adams did not attend. In a congregation of about 1,800 members, the vote to affirm Rev. Butler passed by a scant 18 votes. So much for Mr. Adams’ assertion that Rev. Butler had “the congregation’s overwhelming support.”
Many churches and denominations have had and continue to have internal struggles. Why the BaptistNews saw the need to highlight Riverside’s struggles from an outlier’s point of view is a question for another time.