By Lindsay Bergstrom
Hannah McMahan King, co-executive director of New Baptist Covenant, has finished a year-long transition process and completed her time with New Baptist Covenant on March 31 to pursue other career goals.
“New Baptist Covenant has been a true mission and labor of love for me for the past 13 years,” said McMahan KIng. “I have cherished this time of pioneering a new path for our Baptist family and seeing church, communities and our denominations come together to advance racial justice. I am truly grateful for all those fellow sojourners I met along the way. I’m so grateful for a wonderful team that can keep this work moving forward.”
McMahan King, who has led the movement begun by President Jimmy Carter in 2007 for the past 13 years, began her work with New Baptist Covenant first as Coordinating Intern, then as National Coordinator and ultimately as Executive Director.
The transition process was put in place in April of last year as a way to provide shared leadership with Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins, a former board member and retired Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, as a way to smooth the transition between McMahan King leaving and a new Executive Director coming onboard.
“For 13 years, Hannah listened carefully to our distinct and diverse voices — some loud, some timid,” said Dr. Wright-Riggins “She always managed to distill the essence of our cultures and articulate to the world who we are and what we stand for.
“From the Great Recession to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Hannah steadied us, led us with confidence and helped us to discern what we could and what we could not do,” he continued. “She built a small but skillful team to lead us forward. She did so with humor, empathy, faith and vision.”
Having grown up as the child of a Baptist minister, McMahan King felt the call to ministry at an early age, which led her to pursue a vocation in ministry. She enrolled at Wake Forest University as a William Louis Poteat Scholar and graduated in 2006 with a BA in religion. She continued her studies at Wake Forest University Divinity School and graduated in 2009 with a Masters in Divinity. She also earned a Masters in History in 2012 from the University of Mississippi, where she studied racial-religious violence in the Jim Crow South, specifically how Christian theology both supported and undermined the lynching culture of the South.
Throughout her education and career, McMahan King’s work has received accolades including the G. McLeod Bryan Pro Humanitate Award for her commitment to social engagement and community justice, and the John Thomas Albritton Award in Religion for scholastic excellence. She was also with the Ed and Jean Christman Fellowship while in divinity school, and the John Thomas and Dorothy Porter Award in Vocational Formation and Community.
Dr. Wright-Riggins will continue to lead New Baptist Covenant as Acting Executive Director until a new Executive Director can be tapped.