INDIANAPOLIS – The New Senior Pastor at Eden Missionary Baptist Church says she is the first Black female in the Indy area to hold that title.
Pastor Adrienne Overton grew up in the church and says God called her to pursue the route to become a pastor.
“It was definitely God who led me to go this pastoral route. I was a preacher initially,” said Overton.
She looked up to her father who was the senior pastor before her and she served as his assistant pastor for a time.
“He gave me, shared with me, and poured into me his wisdom and his knowledge. His father was an assistant pastor to him. We come from a family filled with pastors. My great grandfather was a pastor,” Overton said.
“He announced his retirement and Eden [Missionary Baptist Church] appointed me as pastor by votes, and everyone literally in the church voted for me to become the pastor of our church.”
After being elected, Overton learned she wasn’t just the first in her family, or her church, but the first Black female pastor for the entire city of Indianapolis.
“We are a part of a district. It’s called the Union District,” she said. “We have a plethora of other diverse Baptist churches. So, I know that from history there are none. And then I just kind of did some research on the web and came to find out that this was huge!”
With it being a traditionally male-dominated field, Overton says she had some female role models to look up to that paved the way for her, like an aunt and cousin.
Now she’s hoping to serve as an inspiration to others.
“I have a child who has severe hearing loss. I want her to see, that in spite of it, you can be who you need to be.”
Some of her church members believe she’s a good fit for the role. Like Chrissie Beik who has known Overton for 13 years.
“I think it’s a great step forward,” Beik said. “I honestly can’t believe that, that hasn’t happened yet.”
Others hope this has a positive impact.
“I hope it does tell other Black people in the community, even from young to old, that you can do anything,” said Keegan Allen, who has known Pastor Overton his entire life.
It is inspiration that is echoed by others like Tushona Matthews.
“Just because she’s a woman it doesn’t mean we have to have limited abilities to do things in life. And as a woman, she really shows a way that we can make things happen,” said Matthews.
Pastor Overton says she couldn’t do it without strength from God and the support of her congregation.