Historic church calls woman pastor

Long a supporter of women’s ordination, St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans has chosen a female pastor.

By Bob Allen

Elizabeth Mangham Lott, a Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond graduate who has served as associate pastor at Westover Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., since 2010, has been called as 19th senior pastor of St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.

Elizabeth-Mangham-LottFounded in 1898, St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church was instrumental in the development of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and other Southern Baptist institutions in New Orleans. The congregation voted to leave the Southern Baptist Convention in 2001 and is now affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Alliance of Baptists and American Baptist Churches USA.

In 1971, St. Charles Avenue became the first Baptist church in Louisiana to ordain women as deacons. In 1980, it became the first Baptist church in the state to ordain a woman to the gospel ministry.

A native of Mobile, Ala., Lott is a 2008 graduate of BTSR, earning the master of divinity degree. She has served in associate ministerial positions at Northminster Baptist Church in Richmond and at Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Ala.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in congregational studies at Samford University. She is married and the mother of two.

“St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church has been blessed with many excellent pastors known for strong preaching and innovative leadership,” church leaders said in a press release. “In calling Rev. Lott, the church acknowledges she follows in this esteemed tradition.

“As a representative of the younger generation of moderate Baptist ministers, she also brings a keen understanding of the challenges faced by today’s churches and a commitment to St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church's revitalized future.”

Lott announced the news Sept. 18 on the Westover Baptist Church Facebook page.

“Nathan, the children, and I are excited about this amazing opportunity to return home, and I am humbled by the invitation to serve this historic congregation,” she posted to church members. “However, we say goodbye to you and to Richmond with great sadness because of our great love for you.”