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Book Reading and Conversation: Amy Butler for Beautiful and Terrible Things

Avid Bookshop and First Christian Church Athens invite the public to an author event and book signing with Amy Butler in celebration of her bookBeautiful and Terrible Things: Faith, Doubt, and Discovering a Way Back to Each Other. This event is on Thursday, October 19, 2023, from 7pm-8pm at the First Christian Church. There will be a signing after the discussion.

For accessibility requests, contact Please submit your request at least two weeks before the event.


From one of America’s most prominent ministers comes an inspiring, provocative reflection on the necessity of community, the inevitability of conflict, and the transformative power of radical love.

"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid," said theologian Frederick Beuchner. Pastor Amy Butler, the first woman at the helm of New York’s historic Riverside Church, knows firsthand that to navigate such a world, one must be courageous, honest, and compassionate. In Beautiful and Terrible Things, Pastor Amy draws on the most meaningful, challenging, and soul-shaking moments of her own life, to offer larger lessons on theology and relationships.

Pastor Amy grew up in a conservative Evangelical family in the diverse culture of the Hawaiian Islands. As she realized she was more inclined to be a pastor than to marry one, she began an unlikely journey, breaking one stained-glass ceiling after another. Holding increasingly high-profile ministry positions in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and New York, Amy weathered rigidly unwelcoming congregations and enormous trials, ultimately learning that only the radical love of community could generate healing. As she describes her experiences leading a church to publicly affirm its LGBTQ community members, losing a child, and an unexpected divorce, Amy offers a thoughtful lens on all the ways life can push us to see the world from another’s perspective. In her signature compassionate, witty voice, she offers fresh, nonjudgmental perspectives on faith—which, at its most beautiful expression, allows for the possibility that there is more than one way to experience God.


Rev. Dr. Amy Butler is the founder of the philanthropic initiative Invested Faith. She previously served as the first woman senior minister of The Riverside Church in New York City, senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church (D.C.), associate pastor at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, and intentional interim minister at National City Christian Church (D.C.). Pastor Amy holds degrees from Baylor University, the International Baptist Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary. A mother of three children, she currently lives in Hawaii.

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