NASHVILLE–At a special meeting on Saturday June 16th, commissioners from the churches of the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee unanimously elected Rev. Warner R. Durnell as their new Executive Presbyter. Pastor Durnell will begin his work of shepherding 89 congregations onAugust 1, 2012.
Rev. Durnell is the first African American to serve in this position in this region. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a predominantly caucasian denomination that is committed to “Growing Christ’s Church Deep and Wide in diversity, evangelism, discipleship and servanthood.”
Warner Durnell is no stranger to the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee. After ten years as the Executive Presbyter of Northern Alabama, Rev. Durnell is coming home. Included in his thirty years of experience, Warner served as pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church located in the College Heights- Clifton neighborhood of Nashville for ten years. Members of the congregation were in attendance at the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville to witness this historic occasion and to welcome home a respected leader.
According to Steve Douse, Presbytery Moderator: “We conducted an exhaustive search that produced several strong candidates, however Warner was the consensus choice. His service as a presbytery and synod executive and a member of the Louisville Seminary Board of Trustees indicates the high regard in which he is held by the wider church. But we already knew about Warner’s leadership abilities from his time as moderator of this presbytery. The fact that he was so well known and widely respected here in Middle Tennessee made it an easy decision.”
The Presbytery of Middle Tennessee is comprised of 89 congregations throughout the region; just nineteen of these are in Nashville. There are three African American Congregations, one Korean American, and one Sudanese American congregation in the Presbytery. The Presbytery is responsible for the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA) within its region. As Executive Presbyter, Pastor Durnell will provide spiritual and administrative leadership for the Presbytery.