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Nashville church calls lesbian co-pastor; adds Georgia woman to team


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In July of 2002 Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville extended a call to April Baker, an admitted lesbian, to serve as associate pastor. The decision created considerable controversy and unwanted attention from the Nashville community and beyond. The decision eventually led to the dissolution of Glendale's associations with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.

In October the Glendale Church made another landmark decision by elevating Baker's role in the church to co-pastor and calling another woman, Amy Mears of Augusta, to serve with Baker in a similar capacity.

Mears had served as a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-endorsed chaplain at University Hospital in Augusta, according to news reports. She began her new responsibilities with the church on Nov. 28.

The church newsletter, Visions, reported that the Discernment and Search Committee presented a motion at a special called business meeting on Oct. 24 recommending that the church call April Baker and Amy Mears as the full-time co-pastors of the church. The church voted 80 to 1, with one abstention, in favor of the committee's recommendation.

Glendale's 250-member congregation has now developed bonds with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Alliance of Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.