“Pastor Amy” will be the guest on this week’s BNG webinar with Executive Director Mark Wingfield.
Amy Butler has written a new book, Beautiful and Terrible Things. This Thursday at 3 p.m. Central time, she’ll discuss the book and her life journey as a pioneering female minister. Register for this free webinar here.
A native Hawaiian, she currently serves as interim pastor at Community Church of Honolulu. She’s also founder of the philanthropic initiative Invested Faith.
Butler previously served as the first female senior minister of The Riverside Church in New York City — a story that accounts for a much-anticipated portion of the new book. After her contract was not renewed there, she became interim minister at National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., where she had lived before moving to New York City. Earlier, she had been senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and associate pastor at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
Raised and educated as a Baptist, she has served in multiple Protestant settings and reaches across denominational lines in her ministries.
The book is billed as a reflection on the necessity of community, the inevitability of conflict and the transformative power of radical love. In it she discusses leading a church to publicly affirm its LGBTQ community members, losing a child, undergoing an unexpected divorce, and being forced out of one of the most prestigious pulpits in America after only five years — all while often being the first woman called to fill the roles she had.
The title comes from the writing of theologian Frederick Buechner: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
BNG has another “change-making conversation” webinar planned for Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 11:30 a.m. Central time. It will be with Emily Smith, also known to BNG readers as the Friendly Neighborhood Epidemiologist. Smith, who previously taught at Baylor University, now serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine/Surgery at Duke University and at the Duke Global Health Institute. She is a real-life epidemiologist with expertise in global health.
Her new book, The Science of the Good Samaritan: Thinking Bigger about Loving Our Neighbors, grew out of her blogging during the pandemic as she attempted to help people understand what COVID-19 is and how it spreads. Her work was featured in several BNG articles.
She expands the Bible’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” and says “truly being a neighbor goes way beyond simply donating food or money. … It’s also (about) changing our hearts and posture to match those deeds.”
Register for this free webinar here.