VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/31/16)—The Rev. Dr. Paul Martin, president/CEO and professor of Pastoral Theology at American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW), Berkeley, Calif., died on March 23 in Denver.
As ABSW’s president/CEO, Martin was committed to ensuring that the seminary prepared individuals for 21st-century ministry. Under his leadership, the seminary became ecumenical, serving more than 20 Christian denominations, including American Baptist Churches USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
“Dr. Paul Martin was a dear friend of ABHMS, and an encourager to our board and staff members across the years,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “He was with us during our recent Space for Grace Conference, and the time spent with him in fellowship brought so much joy. His leadership in the American Baptist Association of Seminary Administrators, the American Baptist National Black Caucus and the McKee Consultation will most surely be missed.”
A dynamic and beloved pastor, scholar, educator, preacher, radio commentator and spiritual leader, Martin became president and professor of Pastoral Theology at ABSW in 2009, after a year as the school’s interim president. During his seven-year tenure as president of ABSW, he was a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) Board of Trustees and its Council of Presidents, serving most recently as Convener of the Council of Presidents and on the search committee for the GTU’s academic dean.
Martin was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, where he would later serve as pastor. He served in professional ministry for nearly 60 years, including more than 50 years as pastor of congregations in California, Colorado and Virginia. Martin began at ABSW after 16 years as senior pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, Denver. He served as an adjunct professor at several prominent colleges and seminaries and preached and lectured widely throughout the United States and in Africa.
Martin served as first vice president of the American Baptist National Black Caucus.
“I had the honor of serving with Dr. Paul Martin on the leadership team of the American Baptist National Black Caucus over the past few years. Dr. Martin was a voice of wisdom and prophetic presence for us. He stepped up in a powerful way to assume the leadership as then-president, Dr. G. Daniel Jones, passed away suddenly,” says the Rev. Dr. Trinette McCray, second vice president of the caucus. “Paul, as he wanted to be called, was our mentor, leader and colleague, whose work will be lasting, and his presence will be greatly missed.”
Albert D. Matthews, secretary of the American Baptist National Black Caucus and retired Los Angeles superior court judge, says of Martin: “He was very dedicated. He was warm and friendly. He never met a person he didn’t like. He was loyal to the denomination.”
Martin earned a Ph.D. at California Graduate School of Theology; an M.Div. at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University; and a B.A. at Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.
A contributor to many periodicals, Martin was writing his first book, “Decency and Order: A Biblical Perspective of Church Administration.”
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Agnes Martin.
Details regarding a memorial service have not yet been announced. ABSW celebrated Martin’s life at a chapel service on March 28.
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