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As long-time leader Stan Hastey prepares to retire in April, the Alliance of Baptists has employed Paula Clayton Dempsey to become Minister for Partnership Relations, a position in which she will provide internal coordination for the work of the organization whose several part-time staff members will be scattered across the country.

Dempsey, director of the Advent Spirituality Center in Mars Hill, N.C., has been an active participant in the Alliance, and served as president of the group from 2000-2002. She will transition into a full-time role by July, working from Mars Hill. Dempsey will the only full-time staff member, with others working as contract part-time employees.

Chris Copeland, whose title is Minister for Leadership Formation, will shift to part-time work from his new location in Durham, N.C. Susan Burgess Parrish serves as Minister of Development from her home in Oak Ridge. Carole Collins, a board member who has been handling finances on a volunteer basis, will step down from the board and become the Alliance’s part-time Director of Finance, working from Stone Mountain, Ga.

Mary Andreolli, who works as part-time Minister of Outreach and Communications, will be the only staffer remaining in Washington, D.C., where the Alliance has previously been headquartered.

Under a concept developed two years ago when Hastey stepped down as executive director and became Minister for Mission and Ecumenism, the Alliance staff has sought to operate as a peer-oriented rather than heirarchical team. A press release from the Alliance describes the reshaped staff as “a team with strong skills, high energy, creative vision and an impressive commitment to the history of the Alliance and its continuing story. They are equipped and determined to take the Alliance into the future, building on the foundation and accomplishments of all those who have brought us this far.”

The Alliance is a movement of progressive Baptists that counts 125 congregations and a number of individuals as members. It was founded in 1987, in response to the conservative shift taking place within the Southern Baptist Convention, and was known as the Southern Baptist Alliance until 1992. The Alliance describes itself as “inclusive, ecumenical, interfaith, and justice-minded.”

The Alliance will hold its annual convocation in Charlotte April 17-19, where Hastey will be honored for his 20 years of service. For more information, see www.allianceofbaptists.org.

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