Congregation, Tennessee Baptist Convention split over church’s first female pastor



After a more than 140-year relationship, First Baptist Church of Jefferson City and the Tennessee Baptist Convention are breaking up over the church’s decision to hire the first woman to be its senior pastor.

The Tennessee Baptist Convention, made up of representatives from Southern Baptist congregations across the state, opted Tuesday morning not to allow members of the East Tennessee church to vote at the convention’s annual business meeting since the Rev. Ellen Di Giosia now leads the congregation.

The decision effectively means First Baptist is no longer a part of the convention, said Di Giosia, who was hired by the church earlier this fall.

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