The 2,700-member First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia, has become the largest church associated with the Southern Baptist Convention or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to hire a woman as senior pastor.
In a business session after Sunday morning worship June 17, nearly 400 members voted to call Julie Pennington-Russell as minister. The proposal, approved by a show of hands, went unchallenged in a discussion session.
Pennington-Russell, 46, is currently senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, a post she has held since 1998. She had previously worked as a pastor at Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco. She will begin her new job August 19, succeeding Gary Parker, who resigned.