A. Roy Medley
In response to the changing cultural context in which the churches in North America live and serve, Dr. Medley has led the denomination in the “Transformed by the Spirit” initiative. Transformed by the Spirit invites congregations into prayerful discernment and committed action in their communities and the world. “The church cannot live as a gated community,” remarks Medley. “A church with a sole goal of privilege and prestige, a church which has forgotten the cross, is a church with no spiritual power.” Within American Baptist life, he has urged, as a biblical mandate, growth both in personal spirituality and in doing justice, peace, and mercy as those who confess “Jesus Christ is Lord”.
American Baptists’ history of peacemaking has led him to be in the forefront of building relationships of mutual respect and understanding between Baptists and Muslims. Noted as an advocate for human rights and religious liberty, Dr. Medley was invited to address an interfaith audience in Beirut, Lebanon in 2010 on the topic of Baptists and Religious Liberty in the United States. In addition, he has participated in several peace-building efforts globally and has led groups to the Middle East and the Republic of Georgia in efforts to build greater understanding between Muslims and Christians.
Having grown up in segregation, Dr. Medley was drawn to the American Baptist heritage of pursuing justice and equality that began with Roger Williams’ concern for Native Americans in colonial America, and continued through American Baptists standing against slavery, for Japanese-Americans in WW II and with African-Americans in the civil rights struggle. American Baptists have also been in the forefront of women’s rights, ordaining women since the 1800’s and electing Helen Barrett Montgomery as their national president in 1921. “Jesus’ gift of love has always led American Baptists in affirming the dignity and rights of every person as beloved children of God,” he notes.
Dr. Medley has been an untiring advocate on behalf of the Christian community and others in Burma who have suffered human rights and religious liberty violations under the military. As an expression of the compassion and concern of American Baptists, he has frequently visited refugees from Burma in the Thai-Burma border camps and in Malaysia.
He currently serves as chair of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and carries a number of responsibilities with the Baptist World Alliance. Prior to being called as General Secretary, Dr. Medley served as executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, national director of the Neighborhood Action Program of American Baptist National Ministries, and as a pastor. Dr. Medley holds an A.B. degree in psychology from the University of Chattanooga and M.Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also a graduate of the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches in Bossey, Switzerland. He has received honorary degrees from Alderson-Broaddus College, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Central Philippine University, and Franklin College in recognition of his service to Christ and the world.
Dr. Medley is married to Rev. Dr. Patricia Stauffer Medley, an ordained Lutheran pastor serving Hope Lutheran Church, Freehold, NJ. They have two sons, Ethan and Jordan, and their daughter-in-law Urbi Utley Medley and a grandson, Isaiah. Rev. Medley is a member of First Baptist Church, Freehold, NJ.