Board Chair: ‘Nancy Butler Was a Pillar of Strength and a Guiding Force’

The Hartford Seminary community mourns the passing of Pastor Nancy Carroll Butler, who served on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees from 2006-2009. She had been diagnosed with ALS in 2015.

Nancy took a number of courses at Hartford Seminary before joining the Board of Trustees. She earned her Master of Divinity from Yale University, and in 2008, planted Riverfront Family Church, a rare breed that is both progressive and evangelical. Before becoming a pastor, she worked primarily in marketing and human resources.

“I give thanks for Nancy’s creative and faithful and lively spirit, her many talents and her abounding love for all,” President Heidi Hadsell said. “May God accompany her family in this time of grief.”

The President of Hartford Seminary’s Board of Trustees, Vanda B. McMurtry, praised Nancy’s work on the board.

“Nancy Butler was a pillar of strength and a guiding force on the Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary for many years.  We are experiencing bountiful success today in no small measure due to her critical and strategic thinking about our future.  This was thinking that Nancy, as a natural and very gifted leader, was able to translate into action.  We would be so much less than what we are had God not given us the grace of her presence among us.  So we are feeling Nancy’s absence acutely even as we delight in the knowledge that she is with God and will be about His business as always, serving His divine purposes now in a different way.”

In an evening program at Hartford Seminary on Jan. 12, 2016, Nancy talked about the strong connection she had to the Seminary and how enriched she was by knowing people of other faiths.

She also spoke about trying to plant a church, her initial failure in making it a success, and finally learning that she had to ask for help. In a similar way, she said, her disease had a positive impact on her connection to God.

“It’s in these dark valleys that our prayers are answered and we come to know Christ,” she said. “It’s through pain that we become like Christ.”

The video of Nancy’s presentation in January can be viewed here.

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