About Amy

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler is the Senior Minister of The Riverside Church in the City of New York.  Prior to this call, Pastor Amy served as Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C..  Pastor Amy holds degrees from Baylor University (BA ‘91, MA ‘96); The International Baptist Theological Seminary (BDiv ‘95); and Wesley Theological Seminary (DMin ‘09). Before Calvary 11114087_10153209655616798_5656692625222683795_oAmy worked with the homeless community in New Orleans and served as Associate Pastor at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.  Pastor Amy holds the deep conviction that the institutional church can be part of bringing in the Kingdom of God here and now, and she feels extraordinarily fortunate to walk the journey of faith with Christ-followers who feel the same.  In her free time she loves to travel, read, garden, and write. In addition to following sermons and essays here at Talk With the Preacher, you can also read her columns every two weeks on the Associated Baptist Press.

Amy lives in Manhattan and, obviously, her kids are much cooler than she is.


Pastor Amy wonders aloud all the time about: faith, church, living in community, the deep meaning of life, and, everything else, too.  This blog is the site of quite a bit of that wondering.  Thanks for joining the conversation.

25 Comments on “About Amy

  1. If you were out of your bathing suits, what on earth were you wearing? Hmmm.

  2. Amy, I like the new blog site. By the way, I had the greatest time at the summer peace camp of the Baptist Peace Fellowship with two folks from your church, Rev. and Mrs. Palacios!

    I had met both before separately, but this was my first time with both together. I met Mrs. Palacios in either 2003 or ’04 at the Maryland retreat center (Wellspring) of the Church of the Savior for a conference held by Every Church a Peace Church–where I had just begun work as Outreach Coordinator. I met Rev. Edgar Palacios in 2005 in Los Angeles at the bi-annual meeting of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. So, both previous encounters were in the context of faith-based peace and justice meetings. Now, both were first time attendees at the BPFNA’s great summer conference–and they were wonderful.

    Next year is in Canada–dare we hope for more folks from Calvary?

  3. Hi Amy,

    My husband Simon (http://simoncareyholt.typepad.com/) and I are regular readers of your blog. We are Baptists in Australia. However, I also went to Baylor (1984-1988). When were you there?

    Keep up the great work on this site–it’s great! Your post about you and your Chair of Deacons left me sobbing recently….

  4. I stumbled onto your blog today, and was delighted. Browsing back, I have variously laughed and came to the edge of tears. You write beautifully, and manage to communicate hope and confidence even in the more ‘fragile’ posts.

  5. You were a blessing to us in the pulpit of FBC, DC on February 3. We will be making a conscious effort to listen to Jesus. We will also pray for your ministry at Calvary.

  6. Hey Pastor Amy,
    This is Melissa. I visited Calvary over the summer when I worked with the Center for Student Missions (www.csm.org)! I enjoy reading your blog. You and your church were a huge blessing when I was in D.C. (I’m considering returning next summer!).

  7. Hey Girl. Your writing is awesome. I LOVED the church mouse greeting you! I bet they weren’t the only one’s glad to see you back. Maybe Paul planted the mouse so you’d remember how important he is?? But who could forget that. Glad to see you are writing.

  8. Greetings Amy!

    What a neat blog site. I enjoy your writing and sense of humor and perspectives on Christian leadership. I can’t seem to find enough time for my blog site nor can I figure it out so I’ll just be content to read great ones like yours!


  9. I don’t know what I am doing here, so I will just write. maybe I am doing it correctly so it will get to Amy.
    I just read the article in ABP on small furry animals. All I want to add is AMEN sister. I wonder at the depth of understanding of the decorator who uses beanie bunnies in the sanctuary as a holy decor.
    I allow lambs. We are God dumb lambs and Jesus was the one last lamb to be sacrificed. Period – on fuzzy cute animals.
    that’s it. Thanks for letting me vent!
    pooped Pastor Jo from the Illinois prairie

  10. Ammy I am glad I found your blog via; This Is What A Preacher Looks Like. Remember, Kori and I were in Prague when you were there, and I baby-sat Hayden a lot. We are living in VA now with our two children Nathan and Abby. Kori is the Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Callao VA.

  11. Amy,

    Lately I’ve really enjoyed your reflections at ABP. Thanks for your thoughts and consideration.



  12. Dear Amy,
    it´s a little embarassing for me to write you, because my english tends to be rather bad. But this is the third time in about a year, that I read something out of your blog (I think, I didn´t read in it very much more than this three times) and it´s the third time I am deeply moved.
    So I simply have to thank you very much! I´m still wondering (beaming) at the first time, when I didn´t get the hang out of my lecture for sunday, and, just trying a keyword in english, without hoping for anything, your blog sprang into my face and answered anything. Perhaps its astonishing only to me, getting peace from half across the globe – I´m living in Germany. You wrote something about “following”. So then, I´ve got a daughter, which has turned 16 last year – and you got me happily crying with your writing down, what you feel for your son.
    So, it fits, that today I had to look again, being down with grief – a vacation before me to let it out and go on. And to read your text.
    I am very grateful that I stumbeled across your blog, that you are there, living right across the ocean, thinking and feeling sometimes just like I do.
    I´m very sorry, that you must have reason to write about such murderous grief. I hope, you may feel, that god hugs you everyday!

  13. Dear Reverend Butler, I’ve looked and looked, evidently in the wrong places at Associated Baptist Press to find where it talks about publishing an ABP article in a church bulletin.
    I haven’t found it.
    May I submit your recent article on church membership to my church’s, All Saints’ Episcopal, monthly newsletter?

    Yours in Christ Jesus,

  14. Amy,

    I just read your article in Alban’s weekly offering this morning and appreciated learning more about the challenges of urban ministry. I work with the development of Pastors in the Reformed Church in America and am using fables, among many other things, to try and inspire and teach. I just finished my 2nd fable which is about an urban setting and a female pastor trying who leads an old and dying congregation through some of the very changes you are discribing. If you’re interested in a free digital copy of it I would be happy to email it to you. Just let me know… my address is rprice@rca.org.

    Blessings on you and your ministry!
    Rodger Price
    Coordinator of Revitalization and Leader Development
    The Reformed Church in America

  15. Amy, It was neat to ready about Calvary Baptist via Alban’s webmail. I grew up in NY Ave Pres as a child and my elderly cousin attended Calvary where she was very attached to the congregation and minister. NY Avenue has changed as Calvary has. Cheers to those of you creative enough to adapt to the challenges of ministry in DC today. David

  16. Hi Pastor Amy. I’ve never written to a stranger in my life, but here goes. I was watching “Hustle & Flow.” It’s a deeply profound film, have you seen it? A very moving story of redemption. In one scene, this beautiful singer Jennifer Bynum performs a powerful rendition of an old spiritual, “Changed Mah Name.” The lyrics go:
    I tol’ Jesus it would be all right

    If He changed my name
    Jesus tol’ me I would have to live humble
If He changed mah name
    Jesus tol’ me that the world would be ‘gainst me
If He changed mah name
    But I tol’ Jesus it would be all right
If He changed may name”

    Well, the song moved me to go on the internet, where somewhere I noticed that someone said the original song may have been inspired by the story in Genesis 32:22-31 about Jacob wrestling with God (a story I must confess, I did not know) Somehow that led me to a site with a sermon of yours about that passage. Just wanted to let you know that your sermon spoke to me. It affected me, especially the part where you say God will wrestle us, over and over, till we “limp toward the promise of our lives.” And that “God will meet us in the reality of who we are, wrestle us down, and lead us to the promise of everything we were created to be.” I thought you should know your words reached someone out there in the internet. God Bless.

  17. You continue to ring my bell!!! As a preacher I love your insights into scripture. Here in Georgia we Baptist have not been exposed to the view you have.

  18. Do any of you read and study scripture ?….how do you discern 1 Timothy 3. …that’s all I’m going to say…I hope the Lord opens your eyes. …Please if any of you out there needs help and guidance please email me at michaelk5805@gmail.com. …

  19. Aloha,
    Your incredible mom was my Bible Study Fellowship leader years ago in Kailua, Hawaii . I enjoyed and respected her so! So happy to hear you will be the new Pastor at Riverside in NYC. Congratulations! It has taken them 5 years to find you! May God bless you richly. I listened to some of your tape interviews and am in awe of all God has accomplished through you
    I was so very sorry to hear about the death of your brother and pray for his widow and young family in Hilo.
    Love and Blessings to you,
    Diana Lim

  20. we are “Baptist Presbyterians” – Wake Forest University 1962 – 1966, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY 1966 – 1970. Rev. Dr. Beth “Rev Beth” – 1980 – 1984 Associate Pastor, New Vernon, NJ – First Presbyterian (of the Crossroads), 1984 – 2011 senior pastor, Burke Presbyterian Church, Burke, VA — and no, as far as I know, “he” (Robert) is not a relative of Rev. Brad (Braxton)

  21. Joseph told his brothers, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God?’ Genesis 50:19

    I am an ABC/Interfaith minister who just happened to be in NYC for your 1st Sunday. What a day it was for you and for the the ministry of Riverside. My encouragement to you as you begin the long journey we travel toward the Kingdom of God. “Forward!” indeed.

    The entire service was an amazing affirmation of the way. . . from the affirmation of where the church has been in its varied ministries (the banner procession was indicative of effective work) to the call for commitment to days ahead. It was a good reminder to me for my own work, and I thank you.

    “Do not fear!” is the great word. . . “Love!” is its imperative opposite. I understand.

    The rhetorical question that follows is most amazing: It is one of those questions that invites realization that there is no place that is not the place of God. A poet reminds me to be careful with institutions because “Institutions are the opposite of God: their periphery is everywhere, their center nowhere” (James Richardson. Interglacial. Keene, NY: Ausable Press, 2004, p. 215). Obviously this is a reverse of the older comment variously attributed. But it is a good caution.

    Again, thank you! Serve well. Love boldly. And may grace continue to inspire you.

    Peace, Sheldon Hurst

  22. Pingback: What's Your Best Leadership Advice? - Kevin L. Hagan

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