On Sunday, the 87-year-old Stanley announced to the congregation that he was stepping down and turning the reins over to his already designated successor, the Rev. Anthony George.
Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will become pastor emeritus and plans to remain active with In Touch Ministries, which was founded in 1992.
“Earlier this month, I informed the board that I felt the time had come for me to step down as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta to become pastor emeritus” Stanley said in a pre-recorded message.
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