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The Riverside Church

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About This Organization

The Riverside Church
Styled after a gothic cathedral in France, Riverside Church has long been a center for promoting peace and social justice, serving famously as the site for King's 1967 speech against war in Vietnam.

On the Lokashakti Network since:
Saturday, 14 January 2012

Year founded: 1930

490 Riverside Drive
New York, New York 10027
United States

Phone: 1 212 870 6700

Type of network resource:
  • Historical Marker

Issues addressed:
  • Peace / Nonviolence
  • Religious Freedom / Understanding

Further classification:
  • Religious


The Riverside Church
The Church seeks to be a community of faith. Its members are united in the worship of God known in Jesus, the Christ, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The mission of the Church is to serve God through word and witness; to treat all human beings as sisters and brothers; and to foster responsible stewardship of all God's creation.

The Church commits itself to welcoming all persons, celebrating the diversity found in a Congregation broadly inclusive of persons from different backgrounds of characteristics, including race, economic class, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family status and physical and mental abilities. Members are called to an individual and collective quality of life that leads to personal, spiritual and social transformation, witnessing to God’s saving purposes for all creation. Therefore, the Church pledges itself to education, reflection, and action for peace and justice and the realization of the vision of the heavenly banquet where all are loved and blessed.

Who We Are

The Three "I"s...

We are an interdenominational, interracial, & international congregation.


The Riverside Church has 2,400 members and affiliates. Its members come from more than 40 different denominational, national, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.


The church is interdenominational. It is affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches and cooperates with the Council of Churches in the City of New York as well as the New York State, National, and World Councils of Churches. More...


The Church Council, comprised of 18 elected members of the congregation, is responsible for the spiritual well-being, fiscal matters, and property of the church, and oversees the various commissions and committees of the church.


The church is modeled after the 13th Century gothic cathedral in Chartres, France. Construction began in 1927 with the first service held on October 5, 1930. The Nave seats over 2,100 worshipers. The 20-floor tower contains meeting rooms and the 74-bell Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon. The Carillon’s 20-ton Bourdon bell is the largest turned bell in the world. The smallest bell in our Carillon weighs 10 pounds.

Senior Ministers

The Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1930 - 1946
The Rev. Dr. Robert James McCracken, 1946 - 1967
The Rev. Dr. Ernest T. Campbell, 1968 - 1976
The Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., 1977 - 1987
The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., 1989 - 2007
The Rev. Dr. Brad R. Braxton, 2008 - 2009


The Rev. Stephen H. Phelps
The Rev. Robert B. Coleman
The Rev. Dr. Joan Kavanaugh
The Rev. Linda Tarry-Chard
Rev. Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas

The Riverside Church – Map View

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