Riverside Church - Clergy


Harry Emerson Fosdick,(1930–46), was the most prominent liberal Baptist minister of the early 20th Century. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1903 at the Madison Avenue Baptist Church, and while at Riverside established an openness to diversity and strong progressive policy.

Robert J. McCracken, (1947–67), was a Scottish-born professor of systematic theology. He preached that racism was a sin, and he said of atheists, "...we can learn from radical doubters It is the heretics who have forced the church to clear its mind, opened up to it new insights, spurred it on to deeper thinking about God and Christ and man Their concern is a challenge to our complacency.""

Ernest T. Campbell, (1968–1976), was raised in New York City by working class, Irish immigrant parents. He was the first minister who was not Baptist, but rather Presbyterian. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary, and in 1960 he received a "Man of the Year" award from the American Civil Liberties Union for his work in civil rights. Campbell preached a controversial sermon entitled "The Case for Restitution", in which he argued the case for financial and other reparations made to African-Americans for past injustices. He preached against the Vietnam war, and for greater tolerance of gays and lesbians.

William Sloane Coffin, (1977–87), was an initial advisor to the Peace Corps, and was the first director to the Peace Corps Field Training Center in Puerto Rico. In 1961 Coffin was one of several Freedom Riders who were arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for protesting segregation laws. He was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and was arrested in 1968 for aiding and abetting draft resisters. He was also a classical pianist who studied with Nadia Boulanger as a teen, until World War II forced him to leave Paris. After attending Yale University, he was going to enter the CIA, until he attended a conference at Union Theological Seminary, which he then entered, although he interrupted his studies to work for the CIA during the Korean War, when he trained Russians who were opposed to the Soviet Union for operiations within the Soviet Union. He eventually completed seminary at Yale Divinity School. He once gave a sermon entitled "It's a Sin to Build a Nuclear Weapon", and, during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, urged his congregation to "pray for the Iranians too".

James A. Forbes(1989–2007), was heralded by Newsweek magazine as one of the twelve most effective English-language preachers, and called one of the best black pastors by Ebony magazine. He was active in the anti-apartheid movement, and officiated a service with Nelson Mandela. He was also concerned with the growing economic disparity in the United States. Forbes was proclaimed Distinguished Senior Minister Emeritus upon his retirement.

Brad R. Braxton became Riverside's sixth Senior Minister in 2008. Braxton graduated from the University of Virginia and was then a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. On June 29, 2009 he submitted his letter of resignation.

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Famous quotes containing the word clergy:

    I see and hear daily that you of the Clergy preach one against another, teach one contrary to another, inveigh one against another without charity or discretion. Some be too stiff in their old mumpsimus, others be too busy and curious in their new sumpsimus. Thus all men almost be in variety and discord.
    Henry VIII (1491–1547)

    Burn Ovid with the rest. Lovers will find
    A hedge-school for themselves and learn by heart
    All that the clergy banish from the mind,
    Austin Clarke (1896–1974)

    I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution.
    Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)