WACO (March 6, 2013)-Waco's Calvary Baptist Church, which was the first Baptist church in Texas to put a woman in the pulpit, has named Mary Alice Birdwhistell as its new associate pastor.
Birdwhistell was unanimously voted into the position and will begin her role as associate pastor on April 1.
Birdwhistle will graduate in May with her masters of divinity degree from Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
Birdwhistell has been a member of the church since 2009 and has been in Waco since last fall.
In 1998, the church named Julie Pennington-Russell as its senior pastor, a position she held until 2007 when she became senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., where Birdwhistell served a mentorship under her last year.
"Almost immediately when Mary Alice came to be with us last fall, people began talking about what an extraordinarily gifted minister she is," Pennington-Russell said.
"It's pastors like Mary Alice who give me hope for the future of the church. I'm thrilled about this opportunity opening up for Mary Alice at Calvary-one of the finest congregations I've ever known."