Madison Avenue Baptist Church is a church where people go out of their way to speak to you, a place of worship that honors everyone, and a community of faith that follows a gospel of joy and laughter. These are the people who make this all possible. (Please note: The email links for Rev. Sparks and Rev. Hutto are not private addresses. If you wish to send a confidential message, please contact the church for more information.)
Susan Sparks, Senior Pastor
As a trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Susan Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit. A North Carolina native, Susan received her B.A at the University of North Carolina where she was President of her Class and a law degree from Wake Forest University.
After ten years as a lawyer moonlighting as a standup, she left her practice and spent two years on a solo trip around the world, including working with Mother Teresa’s mission in Calcutta, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and driving the Alaska Highway. Upon returning home, she entered Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she earned a Masters of Divinity and wrote an honors thesis on humor and religion. In May 2007, Susan was installed as MABC’s 15th Senior Minister and the first woman in its 165 year history.
Susan is also a professional comedian touring nationally with Rabbi Bob Alper and Muslim Comedian Mo Amer in the Laugh in Peace Tour. Her work with humor, healing and spirituality has been featured in O (The Oprah) Magazine, the New York Times, and on such networks as ABC, CNN, and CBS.
A featured blogger for Huffington Post and Psychology Today, Susan’s first book, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor, was named one of the best spiritual books of 2010 and has sold over 20,000 copies.
Most importantly, Susan and her husband Toby love to fly-fish, ride their Harleys, eat good BBQ and root for the Green Bay Packers.
B.J. Hutto, Associate Pastor
From Orangeburg, South Carolina, B.J. Hutto graduated with a BA in Religion and English Literature from Wofford College and holds an MDiv and ThM from Duke University Divinity School. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Theological Ethics at Kings College, Aberdeen (at-distance) with a focus on the Church’s understanding of marriage. He has written for publications such as The Christian Century, Touchstone Magazine, and Elevating Preaching.
Before coming to the Madison Avenue Baptist Church, B.J. served two churches in North Carolina: First Baptist Church, Henderson (associate pastor) and Crabtree Valley Baptist Church, Raleigh (solo pastor). B.J.’s wife, Rebekah, is also an ordained minister, serving The Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City.
When not working or studying, B.J. is happiest when spending his time like Jesus’ first disciples, in a fishing boat.
Paul Stephan, Minister of Music
Brian Crowson, Parish Administrator
Troy Gordon, Sexton
Officers and Board Chairs
Faith Grill, Moderator & Chairperson, Trustees
Kevin Davis, Chairperson, Christian Education
Adom Crew, Chairperson, Community Ministries
Joe Pilla, Chairperson, Deacons
Rodney Dunlap-Keener, Chairperson, Media and Communications
Frieda Lane, Clerk
Nancy Rivera, Treasurer
Jamie Rodriguez, Business Manager