Riverside Church is a Christian church in New York City. Although interdenominational it is also associated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ. The church is situated at 120th Street and 490 Riverside Drive in New York's Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Morningside Heights. It is famous for its large size and elaborate Neo-Gothic architecture as well as its history of social justice.
The church is two blocks south of Grant's Tomb and was the site of Jackie Robinson's funeral service in 1972. It was described by The New York Times in 2008 as "a stronghold of activism and political debate throughout its 75-year history ... influential on the nation's religious and political landscapes." It has been a focal point of global and national activism since its inception.
The church was conceived by the famed, but controversial, industrialist, financier, and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960), and the emerging but controversial, famous minister and preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969), as a large, interdenominational church in a neighborhood important to the city, open to all who profess faith in Christ. Its congregation includes more than forty ethnic groups. As of 2007, the church had a $14 million annual operating budget and a paid staff of 130. In 2012 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Social Services and Ministries:
Riverside Church provides various social services, including a food bank, barber training, clothing distribution, a shower project, and confidential HIV tests and HIV counseling.
The church is presently served by Interim Senior Minister the Rev. Stephen H. Phelps, a graduate of Yale Divinity School long involved in social justice and interfaith dialogue. Phelps also teaches church history and Christian ethics in New York Theological Seminary's master's program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York.
The Rev. Linda Tarry-Chard serves as Minister for Membership, Care & Parish Life. Her career has involved much advocacy for disadvantaged urban children and families; she was the Director of Adoption Services at Graham Windham Children's Services; Director of Victim Services Agency/ Community Outreach in the five boroughs of New York City; Director of Special Projects for the New York City Board of Education, and founding Board Member of the Sister Fund, a private foundation that supports women and girls in New York.