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The Rev. Dr. Forbes

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.  returned today to The Riverside Church to lead the historic institution temporarily as the newly appointed Transitional Senior Minister and lead this morning’s service.

Dr. Forbes is a familiar face as he was the former Senior Minister.

“It is a blessing to return to my family here at The Riverside Church,” Rev. Forbes said, today.  “As Transitional Senior Minster, I will work to continue Riverside’s rich legacy of social justice and through my leadership help prepare the Church for receiving its next Senior Minister.”

The Riverside Church ( is an interracial, interdenominational and international church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927. The 1,200-member Riverside Church in Morningside Heights has a rich tradition of providing a forum for important civic and spiritual leaders.

Past speakers at Riverside Church include: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, President William J. Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Fidel Castro, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Currently in a period of transition, as Riverside awaits the selection of its next Senior Minister, the Church Council has brought on a Transitional Minister Team comprised of Rev. Forbes and The Rev. Dr. Paul H. Sherry to lead the Church as of January 6, 2014.  Rev. Forbes will serve as the Transitional Senior Minister and be the primary Sunday Morning Preacher, with Rev. Sherry serving as the Transitional Operations Minister, overseeing the daily operational and administrative functions of the Church.

One Sunday each month the Church will host a guest preacher as part of its Prophetic Voices Series, which will provide an opportunity to hear from some of the most important voices fighting for justice today.

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church and President of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, was installed as the fifth Senior Minister of Riverside on June 1, 1989.

He is the first African-American to serve as Senior Minister of this multicultural congregation and retired from his position on June 1, 2007.  He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America.  In national and international religious circles, he is known as the preacher’s preacher because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style.  Forbes was recognized by Newsweek in 1996 as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world.

From October 2010 through June 2012, the Rev. Dr. Paul H. Sherry was the Director of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ).  Based out of its Washington DC office, he spearheaded IWJ's work on the current unemployment crisis.  Dr. Sherry currently serves as President of the Board of IWJ, a position he has held since January 2013.  Earlier in his career he served as President of the United Church of Christ.  

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