Updates from the Church Council

Reflections on Rev. Thorne from the Church Council, July 23, 2022:

Dear Riverside Family,

As we enter a new season of joy and expectation, the Church Council shares your enthusiasm for our newly elected Senior Minister, The Reverend Adriene Thorne. Your heartfelt prayers were read during the congregational meeting on Sunday, July 17th. Below is a sampling of reflections from members of the Church Council.

Rueben Martinez:
Psalm 118:24-25 The Lord has done it this very day. Let us rejoice and be glad, Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

David King:
Reverend Thorne asked the congregation to become Beacons of Spiritual Light within the church and outside so that the church can become a leader in the community for good in these difficult and trying times.

Eugene Melino:
Reverend Thorne, in answer to a question, stated that she had dismissed Riverside’s posting for Senior Minister until she read that healing was a central theme. The theme of healing in Reverend Thorne’s sermon struck me the most. Listening to her preach about healing made me think that maybe healing should play the central role in social justice as well as in governance at Riverside.

Clarence Anderson:
Sunday was a day of great joy and celebration, and we are so grateful to God for Grace and Mercy.

Reverend Geraldine Howard:
This past weekend I witnessed TRC showing evidence that it is moving into a post pandemic world, emerging into something that is in disarray, at the same time affirming the call of a new Senior Minister, Reverend Adriene Thorne. I saw us bursting with hope and a unanimous vote with one dissension, clearly speaking as one. I saw us handling the space between what we are leaving and what we are becoming—standing firmly on the hyphen of what was and desirous of a healthy and loving future. We were not conducting business as usual—we were close to levitating. The UCC has a saying, “don’t put a period where God has placed a comma”—and Sunday we moved the goal post into new territory with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Len Leach:
After meeting with Reverend Thorne for dinner with the Council and listening to her sermon on Sunday, my faith in Riverside has been restored. It took the Senior Minister Search Committee to find her and bring her to Riverside, but it will take the entire church to support her and keep her. I look forward to doing my part in her success.

Our prayer is that Riverside continues to be on one accord as we move into the future God has prepared for us.

Peace and Blessings,
The Church Council

Update from Church Council Executive Committee, June 15, 2022:

Dear Riverside Community,

We are writing to thank you on behalf of the Executive Committee. You showed interest in moving forward with the work of the community with your presence at Sunday’s Special Meeting of the Congregation, called on the written request of at least ten members of the Church. The attendance was the largest in-person meeting that we’ve seen in quite some time.

Though the Petition has been occupying our minds and time over the last few weeks, however, there has been so much positive work going on within the Church…to name some of the things that we’ve been accomplishing:

  • Our 2020 Audit (halted because of the Complaint) has been completed and we are now ready to move on to the 2021 Audit
  • The Senior Minister’s Search Committee is nearing the end of their process of calling a new Senior Minister, they are pretty sure that we will have a new minister by year’s end
  • A new Chief Operating Officer has been hired and is fully on board
  • Our Education, Youth and Young Adult Ministries are thriving
  • The Social Justice Commission is starting the interviewing process for a Minister of Justice, Advocacy and Change this week
  • Our 2-year restoration project is well underway with work on the stained-glass windows and door replacement
  • The Riverside Development Committee continues to work hard with laser focus on developing the sites of McGiffert Hall and Stone Gym – you can follow them on the Riverside Church’s website
  • The By-Laws Committee is hard at work
  • We have developed and implemented a Confidentiality and Grievance Policy for Lay Leaders
  • We are honored to have 31 people join us in membership during the Pandemic

These are just a few of the activities that continued to move and grow at Riverside during the Pandemic. We look forward to working together in ways of healing within the Congregation. Thank you again for making this a community of faith, love, and spiritual interest and concern.

You are an excellent faith community Riverside!

God bless,

Clarence Anderson, Chair
Geraldine Howard, Vice Chair
Allen Kratz, Secretary
Rueben Martinez, Treasurer
Hillary Puckett, Commission Rep

The Church Council

Updated August 26, 2020:

Dear Riverside Siblings, Sisters, and Brothers,

This update from the Church Council contains links to the recent Town Hall notes and contacts for each Council member, as well as a devotional.

The Church Council

To reach Riverside Ministers and Staff:  (212) 870-6700
To reach Church Council members:  ChurchCouncil@trcnyc.org

Updated August 11, 2020:

Dear Riverside Siblings, Sisters, and Brothers,

Thank you to everyone who was able to make time after worship this past Sunday to attend our second Virtual Town Hall.  The conversation was lively and productive, and we wanted to share more information about one of the biggest topics discussed:  the upcoming Lay Leadership election.

As part of the process for planning for our upcoming Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 15, we are sharing with you these important dates from the Nominating Committee, which has been hard at work interviewing those who have expressed interest in serving our church as elected lay leaders.

We will continue to provide further details about the Annual Meeting and the election process as we align our activities with evolving guidance and best practices related to COVID-19, but in the meantime, here are important dates for you to consider as you participate in the process of electing the lay leaders who will take office immediately following the Annual Meeting:

Wednesday, September 16:  Deadline for the Nominating Committee to announce nominees, i.e., “at least 60 days prior to Annual Meeting” (By-laws, Article V.4.a.i).

Wednesday, October 7:  Deadline for “any additional person eligible for elective office to submit a petition of nomination signed by at least 100 voting members of the Church, along with a written statement signed by the nominee stating that she or he will serve if elected,” i.e., “within 21 days of the announcement of the nominees by the Nominating Committee” (By-Laws, Article V.4.a.ii).

Sunday, November 15:  Annual Meeting. Deadline for all ballots to “be received by the close of business of the Annual Meeting” (By-laws, Article V.4.d).

We look forward to sharing more information about the elections and the Annual Meeting soon.  Please bookmark and visit www.trcnyc.org/layleadership for the latest news and information about the election, including the names of those who have submitted Lay Leadership Interest Survey forms to the Nominating Committee.

In the meantime, please direct any questions to the chair of the Nominating Committee, Samuel Coleman, at nomcom@trcnyc.org.


Marilyn Mitchell
Chair, Church Council

Samuel Coleman
Chair, Nominating Committee

To reach Riverside Ministers and Staff:  (212) 870-6700
To reach Church Council members:  ChurchCouncil@trcnyc.org

Updated May 26, 2020:

Dear Riverside Siblings, Sisters, and Brothers,

The Church Council offers each of you greetings and prayers during these challenging times of physical separation and social isolation. The entire Council prays you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, and each of us longs for the day when we can be with you again worshipping in the Nave. Working in close coordination with members of our clergy and staff, the Council has been hard at work developing programming and plans to bring our congregation together as best we can in these times of physical separation.

One of the most important tasks we have embarked upon, with help from our clergy, is to begin personally calling every Riverside member we have a telephone number for, and reaching out via email to those for whom we either don’t have a number on record or the number is outdated. This gesture of personal touch and connection, checking in on the members of our beloved community, is an important and heartfelt expression of pastoral care to remind our members that we are not alone and we will get through this together. If you haven’t yet received a phone call, or if you aren’t sure your phone number is up-to-date or in our database, please email churchcouncil@trcnyc.org and we will be sure to add you to the list to receive a call.

We are also pleased to invite each of you to a virtual Town Hall forum on Sunday, June 7 after worship, at approximately 12:15 p.m., in lieu of the regular Virtual Coffee Hour. We look forward to seeing you there and answering some of the questions raised at the previous Town Hall.  More details will be shared soon, but we hope you’ll mark your calendar and make plans to participate in this gathering of our community and elected lay leaders.

Finally, we wanted to be sure you were aware of all of Riverside’s online ministries and offerings while we stay home. Our commissions, clergy, and staff have created a wide variety of offerings, from worship to Bible study to small group classes and more, for individuals and families to stay connected online, and we encourage you to find one that’s right for you at www.trcnyc.org/online. We are also pleased to share community resources available during COVID-19, as well as announcements of a blood drive on May 29 and a recruitment announcement seeking contact tracers from Riverside’s local neighborhood, at www.trcnyc.org/nycresources.

The Church Council

To reach Riverside Ministers and Staff:  (212) 870-6700
To reach Church Council members:  ChurchCouncil@trcnyc.org

Updated April 4, 2020:

Dear Riverside Siblings, Sisters, and Brothers,

Times like these test and affirm our Faith.  As the Church Council, we want to assert – we aren’t alone.  God loves us and will provide for us.  Isaiah 41:10 is clear:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The Council wants to thank Rev. Livingston, the ministers, and the staff for their dedication and commitment to the Riverside community.  They continue to offer spiritual comfort and guidance in addition to the many services they provide us as we, and they, shelter in place.

Please know that members of the Church Council are praying with you and for you while we share in the ministry of the church and management of its affairs.  Please keep the first responders, the physicians, the nurses, and the other healthcare professionals in your thoughts and prayers.  Many in our congregation are serving on the front lines of this pandemic as first responders and healthcare professionals.

While matters of health are foremost on our minds, we must also keep in our prayers those who are struggling with a job loss, job insecurity, and business owners who must juggle a myriad of issues.

At the most recent Church Council meeting, the Council, at the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, voted to postpone the May Annual Meeting until a date in September or later, if necessary.  We also agreed to postpone the lay leadership election.

In a practical sense, what does this mean?  What do the Bylaws say?  If the elections are delayed, can new candidates be nominated?  If we are on State-required lockdown, how can prospective candidates collect 100 signatures?  Working with the Nominating Committee, the Council will have more specific answers to these and other questions.  Until the 2020 elections are completed, current lay leaders will continue to serve.

Until further notice, Church Council meetings will be held electronically. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 27.  Participants may attend this meeting via video and/or audio.  If you would like to dial into the meeting, please email ChurchCouncil@trcnyc.org.  We will respond with dial-in instructions.

Other Commissions and Committees may also offer electronic / virtual access to their meetings.

Please remain connected to your family, friends, neighbors, and of course, your Riverside family. Remember to be generous, forgiving, and flexible as we engage in this new shared experience of distance fellowship and leadership.

May God bless each of you, your family, our elected leaders, and our world as we move towards the holiest time of the Christian calendar.

Please click this link to see a selection of the services being offered by our local and national charities and governments.

The Church Council

To reach Riverside Ministers and Staff:  (212) 870-6700
To reach Church Council members:  ChurchCouncil@trcnyc.org