About Our Pastor
Reverend Dr. Robert R. Blythe
Robert Richard Blythe was born in Richmond, Kentucky on November 5, 1949, to Richard and Vashti Blythe. He attended and graduated from the public schools of Richmond (Diploma, 1967). In 1959, he accepted Christ at the age of nine and participated in Sunday School and other youth activities of the church. He was active in the work of the Mt. Pleasant District Association and the New Liberty Baptist Sunday School Convention throughout his school years.
He received further education at Eastern Kentucky University (Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education, 1971), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity, 1986) and Convincing Theological Schools (Doctor of Ministry, 2002). Additional course work has been done in mathematics at the University of Kentucky (1971) and Purdue University (1972).
In April of 1980, Rev. Blythe acknowledged his call to the preaching ministry, while serving in the music department at the New Hope Baptist Church in Akron, Ohio under the pastorate of Rev.T. Dewitt Smith, Jr. There, he preached his first sermon. In June 1980, during the pastorate of Rev. A.C. Goodloe, Rev. Blythe preached his first sermon at his home church, the First Baptist Church in Richmond, Kentucky where he was licensed to preach the gospel. He was ordained in October of 1981. On the third Sunday of December in 1981, after accepting the call of his church, he began his tenure as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Richmond.
Rev. Blythe has served as an officer of the Mt. Pleasant District Association for several years and of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky and its auxiliaries for more than thirty-five years, being first elected to office in 1973. Other associational work which has been served by Rev. Blythe is the Kentucky State Body of the National Baptist Convention of America, Incorporated, and the Kentucky State Missionary Baptist
Missionary and Educational Convention. He has served as President and Dean of Religious Education and Treasurer in these bodies, respectively. He has served as Dean of the Baptist Unified Christian Leadership Conference (BUCLC) of the General Association as well as Vice President of that body. He served as President of the BUCLC from 2013 to 2017.
In June 2009, Rev. Blythe began serving as an instructor for the National Baptist Publishing Board Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, which he had attended for many years. He has taught classes in Christian education, for the spiritual renewal of men and for the training of associate ministers.
He taught mathematics and French in the public schools of Gary, Indiana; Richmond, Kentucky and Madison County, Kentucky, and taught mathematics at Eastern Kentucky University beginning in 1993. He retired from the University in July 2011. These teaching assignments have also provided a tremendous opportunity for Rev. Blythe to share his faith. He has led several of his students to Christ upon their interest shown during times of crisis or concern. He has baptized several of his students including one of his former University students he baptized at the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville.
In 2002, Rev. Blythe was elected commissioner for the City of Richmond. He began his tenure as Richmond City Commissioner in January of 2003 and served as Mayor Pro-Tem from 2005 through 2008 and again from 2013 through 2014. After serving eight terms as Commissioner, Blythe successfully sought the office of Mayor of the City of Richmond in 2018. He was inaugurated on December 28 of 2018 as the first African-American mayor of Richmond (the seventh largest city in Kentucky) to serve a four-year term.
As a member of the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (KBC-LEO), Rev. Blythe was the 2007-2008 President after completing two years as Vice President. He was re-elected to serve as Second Vice President for one year. He continues to serve as a member of the Executive Board for the Conference. In 2011, the Kentucky League of Cities, parent of the KBC-LEO, invited Rev. Blythe to sit on the Board of Directors of the League. He held that position for two years.
Additionally, he serves as president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Richmond (Madison County), Kentucky. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Directors for the Madison County Market of Central Bank and a former member of the Advisory Board for Bank One of Madison County.
In April 2008, Robert received the honor of being inducted into the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Preachers at the distinguished Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. This induction was attended and witnessed by several family and friends, including Robert’s mother, Vashti, and his nephew, Richard. The speaker for this event was the Rev. Billy Kyle, who was with Dr. King when he was assassinated and is included in the famous balcony photo of this tragic event.
In January of 2012, Rev. Blythe was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lifetime Achievement award by the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. This event was held in conjunction with the celebration of the birthday and national holiday for Dr. King and was attended by members of his family and members of the First Baptist congregation.
In May of 2012, Rev. Blythe was the commencement speaker for Simmons College of Kentucky in Louisville, the alma mater of his maternal grandmother. At this time, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him.
In April 2013, Robert was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Eastern Kentucky University.
Other community involvement includes Member and Chair of the Faith Task Force of the Madison County Community Partnership; Member of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce; Member of the Chemical Destruction Citizens’ Advisory Board (CDCAB); Member of the Richmond Kiwanis Club, Member of the Richmond Rotary Club, Member of the bluegrass.org Board of Directors
Believing in the words of Luke 4:18, which states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Rev. Blythe has dedicated his life to the service of others and works daily to be a true servant for the Lord.
To God be the glory!