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Martin Named 1st Black to Head Baptist Seminary
By Lady Kathye Jenkins (Contributing Religion Writer)
Published October 26, 2011

Dr. Paul M. Martin
Dr. Paul M. Martin


By Lady Kathye Jenkins
Contributing Religion Writer

Dr. Paul M. Martin serves as the first African American President of the 140-year-old American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) located in Berkeley, California. Dr. Martin is a native of South Los Angeles and attended schools in the LAUSD.

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Dr. Martin has pastored in Los Angeles, Virginia and Colorado. His post-graduate work was done in Virginia and California having graduated with a Ph.D. from the California Graduate School in Anaheim. He also serves as the Professor of Pastoral Theology for the seminary.

Dr. Martin is married to the lovely Dr. Agnes Lott Martin and they are members of the historic Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles.

ABSW is the only authentically Baptist Seminary located west of the Rocky Mountains. It is associated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the Progressive National Baptist Churches, Inc. Many alumni live in the Southern California community. Previously, the seminary was located on a campus in Covina, merging with the Berkeley Baptist Seminary where it is now located.

Among the many opportunities offered by the seminary are five accredited degree programs; Master of Divinity (MDIV), Master of Arts in Community Leadership (MACL), Doctor of Ministry (D. Min), Master of Arts (MA), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D). The last two degrees are offered cooperatively with the Graduate Theology Union (GTU) of which ABSW is a founding member.

Located in a beautiful campus adjacent to the University of Berkeley, ABSW is proud of its ecumenical presence. Its students are members of historic African American denominations such as A.M.E., A.M.E.Z., C.M.E. and Church of God in Christ families.

Dr. Martin has developed a program entitled ‘Seminary without Walls’ and he is in the process of establishing certificate programs for clergy and laity in Southern California, Denver, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon.

A signature annual event of the seminary is the ABSW Leadership Conference serving the entire West Coast Region. This year, it was held October 24-26, in cooperation with the McGee Avenue Baptist Church led by Pastor Michael Smith and the Star King Seminary where Dr. Dorsey Blake is the Dean.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, pastor emeritus of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, was the conference lecturer and preacher. Dr. Wright was first introduced to the Southern California community by Dr. Martin at Redeemer Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, where Dr. Martin served as senior pastor for 23 years.

For more information about ABSW, visit


Categories: Religion

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