PULASKI, Tenn. – Martin Methodist College (MMC) announces the Reverend Allen Stanton as the new Executive Director of the Turner Center. Stanton, who began his service in July, replaces the Reverend Dr. Ed Trimmer, who retired from MMC on August 31 after serving just over 8 years in the position. Before coming to MMC, Stanton served as pastor of Merritt’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Chatham County, North Carolina. Before serving at Merritt’s Chapel, Allen was the Rural Church Fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues, a non-partisan, public policy think-tank at NC State University. There, Allen spearheaded an initiative designed to help rural churches across North Carolina understand the important challenges facing their communities, design and develop plans to engage those issues, and connect congregations to resources and partners to help in their work.
Stanton earned his Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School, where he was a Thriving Rural Communities Fellow and the inaugural World Vision Justice Fellow. Allen earned his BA in political science and religious studies from Wake Forest University, where he was a Richter Research Fellow, and where he served as the university’s mascot, the Demon Deacon, for four years. Over the last two months, Stanton has been leading the Turner Center to focus its work on empowering rural congregations to create meaningful change in their communities, following MMC’s efforts to spark a rural renaissance.“Martin Methodist College has outlined a remarkable vision in which we not only educate students, but we also contribute meaningfully to the life of the community and the region,” said Stanton. “Cal Turner Jr. likes to say that, ‘Human development is the most important thing,’ and I’ve discovered that belief is central here at Martin Methodist. Rural communities and rural churches face unique challenges and opportunities. Our hope is the Turner Center will become a place that helps our rural churches become leaders who are able to transform their communities in meaningful ways. We are excited about the possibilities that are here and look forward to the work ahead.”
Stanton has written for a variety of publications on practical theology and rural ministry, including “Practical Matters” and “Faith and Leadership.” He also served as a contributor for “Will Willimon’s Pulpit Resource.” He occasionally leads workshops on community development and the local church.
Stanton’s wife, Abby, has also joined the MMC ranks as a staff member serving in the Admissions Department and as a Vocational Discernment Counselor. Martin Methodist College, founded in 1870, is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Martin Methodist offers baccalaureate degrees in 39 programs of study that include English, religious studies, music and dramatic arts, mathematics and natural sciences to business, social sciences, education, criminal justice, and nursing.