Lay Leadership

Click here to see the 2019 Lay Leadership candidates.

Riverside Church Logo Cutout

Lay Leadership is the heartbeat of The Riverside Church. As a congregational church the various commissions and committees lead the way as we aspire to embody the love and justice of God in our neighborhood, across the nation, and around the world.

2018-19 Elected Lay Leadership Positions

Brad Jones (Chair)
Marilyn Mitchell (Vice-Chair)
Jean Schmidt (Treasurer)
Mary Biggs (Secretary)
Ed Lowe
Len Leach
Rick O’Keefe
Philip Salmon
Howard Sanders 
Kurt Karandy Adams
Alan Bentz-Letts
Frank Nelson
Challon Perry
Christian Rojas
Rueben Martinez (Rep: Education)
Jerome Hairston (Rep: MCPL)
Desi Ruiz (Rep: MSJ)
Jan Powell (Rep: Worship)

Staff Liaisons
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, Rev. Michael Livingston

Rueben Martinez (Chair)
Charlene Wingate (Vice-Chair)
John Slorance (Secretary)
Charmae Lewis 
Robin Veenstra-VanderWeele
Eugene Melino 
David Jensen*
Colleen Birchett
Bryant Harris
Maegen Henriquez-Ford
Courtney Klamar** 

*Elected to a two year term
**Appointed to a one year term

Staff Liaison
Rev. Bruce Lamb

Anita Bryant* (Chair)
Hsien-yu Wang (Vice-Chair)
Hillary Puckett (Secretary)
Patricia Pell 
LaSonya Thompson
Stefany Blyn Jacobs
Ernest Jones 
Jerome Hairston
Danielle Aviles-Griffin
Carolyn Bland 
Elaine Goode 
Rosalyn Witter

*Appointed to a one year term

Staff Liaisons
Rev. Debra Northern, Minister Christian Peele, and Rev. Bruce Lamb

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo (Chair)
Jeremiah Drake (Vice-Chair)
Victoria Anderson (Secretary)
Jocardo Ralson (Secretary)
David Ford
Hylda Clarke
Kara Dago-Clark
Doug Miller
Henry Williams
Karen Diggs
Desi Ruiz
Sumati Devadutt

Staff Liaison
Rev. Kevin VanHook

Jan Powell (Chair)
Irene King (Vice-Chair)
Michael Winger (Secretary)
Patricia Ali
Vera Smith-Holzman
Nancy Clark
Marie Wilson
Karen McVoy
Diana Solmon-Glover
Anna Meyer
Becca Kesting
Derrick Jordan*

*Appointed to a one year term

Staff Liaison
Rev. Alisha Gordon, Christopher Johnson

Len Leach (Chair)
Brad Jones (Chair, Church Council)
Jean Schmidt (Treasurer, Church Council)
Alan Bentz-Letts (Rep: Church Council)
Sonia Ingram
Michael Ellis
Lakeisha McCoy
Allen Kratz
Anna Meyer (Rep: Worship)
Sumati Devadutt (Rep: MSJ)
Hsien-Yu Wang (Rep: MCPL)
Charlene Wingate (Rep: Education)

Staff Liaison
Minister Christian Peele, Matthew Kerner (Director of Finance)

David Orcutt (Chair)
Kevin Bentley (Vice-Chair)
Samuel Coleman (Secretary)
Karen Mott
Una Tapper
Nora Campbell
Susan Wersan*
Brittany Kendrick*
Kate Sullivan*
Alan Bentz-Letts (Rep: Church Council)
Vera Smith-Holzman (Rep: Worship)
Doug Miller (Rep: MSJ)
Stefany Blyn Jacobs (Rep: MCPL)
Charmae Lewis (Rep: Education)

*Appointed to a one year term

Staff Liaison
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

2018-19 Appointed Lay Leadership Positions

Phil Salmon (Chair)
Mary Biggs (Rep: Church Council)
Rick O’Keefe (Rep: Church Council)
Patrick Mouton (non-voting member)

Staff Liaison
Minister Christian Peele

Christian Rojas (Chair)
Challon Perry (Rep: Church Council)
Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele
Mace Anderson
Linda LeShanna
Ken Eisner
Hylda Clarke (Rep: MSJ)
Jerome Hairston (Rep: MCPL)
Bryant Harris (Rep: Education)
Karen McVoy (Rep: Worship)

Staff Liaison
Rich Glassey

Brad Jones (Chair, Council)
Marilyn Mitchell (Vice-Chair, Church Council)
Jean Schmidt (Treasurer, Church Council)
Mary Biggs (Secretary, Church Council)
Jerome Hairston (Rep: Commissions)

Staff Liaison
Rev. Michael Livingston

Howard Sanders (Chair)
Marilyn Mitchell (Rep: Church Council)
Frank Nelson (Rep: Church Council)

Staff Liaison
Minister Christian Peele, Matthew Kerner (Director of Finance)

Sandy Thomas (Chair)
Jan Powell (Rep: Worship)
Geraldine Howard
Eugene Melino
Martha Wiggins
Geoff Martin
Jo Cameron
David Vaughn

Staff Liaisons
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

Rick O’Keefe (Chair)
Kurt Karandy Adams (Rep: Church Council)
Forrest Taylor
Joanne Toran
Sandy Thomas

Staff Liaison
Minister Christian Peele, Sarah Brown (Director of HR)

Brad Jones (Chair, Church Council)
Marilyn Mitchell (Vice-Chair, Church Council)
Len Leach (Chair, Budget and Planning)
Rick O’Keefe (Chair, Personnel and Salary)
Jan Powell (Chair, Worship)
Robbie Patterson
Geoff Martin

Staff Liaison
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

Marilyn Mitchell (Chair)
Gaylen Schram
George Walker
Jacqueline Hopkins
Barbara Mellor
Ken Cummings
Irene King (Rep: Worship)
Hillary Puckett (Rep: MCPL)
Robin Veenstra-VanderWeele (Rep: Education)
Henry Williams (Rep: MSJ)

Staff Liaison
Kaitlin Cook (Director of Stewardship and Development)

Areas of Elected Service at Riverside

Church Council

Description: The Church Council has oversight responsibility for all affairs of the Church – temporal and spiritual. The Council has fiduciary responsibility and sets policies. Each Council member is also appointed to at least one of the following standing committees: Audit, Budget and Planning, Building, Finance, Communications, Institutional Relations, Ministerial Relations, Ordination, Personnel and Salary, and Stewardship.

List of Desired Skills/Backgrounds: List of Desired Skills/Backgrounds: accounting, finance/investment, legal, human resources/organizational behavior, educational background, conflict resolution / governance / leadership, non-profit experience, managerial/secretarial, and audit.

Nominating Committee

Description: Administers the overall process for the election of lay leaders, and is responsible for the integrity of Riverside annual election process. The Committee works to ensure that each member included on the slate of candidates:
– Meets stated requirements of elected office.
– Meets qualifications as specified by and for each Commission or Committee.
– Reflects the diversity of Riverside’s membership.
– As necessary, the committee also recommends changes to the Riverside By-Laws.

List of Desired Skills/Duties:
– Openness to speaking with Riversiders about the elected offices available to members.
– Have a welcoming and friendly manner with congregation members, particularly those new to the Riverside community.
– Discerning through listening and open discussions those who would be assets as Lay Leaders.
– Working with Commission leaders as well as Riversiders at large to encourage qualified folk to run for elected office.
– Hold positive attitude towards Riverside Church leadership and speak of the integrity of Nominating Committee and elections.
– Agree to faithfully attend all meetings and volunteer with Sunday morning tabling.
– Willingness to help during the election process including Meet the Candidates and voting counting at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.
– Organizational and/or secretarial skills.

Membership Care and Parish Life Commission

Description: The Commission accompanies church members on every step of their spiritual journeys. Programs include: Pastoral Care, New Members Class, Barber Training Program, Clothing Service, Faith Development and Spiritual Growth, Food Pantry, Laity Empowerment Series, Shower Project, Spiritual Life Retreat, and Wellness Programs.

List of Desired Skills/Duties: Should have a history of volunteering at Riverside or other organizations, or demonstrate willingness and devotion to carry out the task required for the success of the commission. MCPL Lay Leaders should be able to engage with the purview of ministries our commission supports (Membership, Parish Care, and Parish Life). We welcome members in the profession of trades, law, social services, and the arts.

Education Commission

Description: Oversees the development and implementation of the comprehensive Christian Education Ministry at the Church. Programs include: Sunday Morning Bible Study, Youth and Young Adult programs, English Language Training, Infant and Toddler Nursery programs, and the Scholarship Fund.

List of Desired Skills/Duties:
– Attended or led Adult Bible study at TRC, whether small group or Open Bible study.
– Sat for 1 year on Riverside Committee such as ACEC, Budget & Planning, Ordination, Global Justice & Peace, etc.
– Ability to cast vision as it relates to the direction of the overall congregation’s faith formation and learning experiences.
– A desire to invest in the lives of people of all ages with special attention to children, youth and young adults.
– A willingness to lead the congregation in exploring practices related to spiritual formation and Christian education.
– An appreciation of the various ways in which people who are differently abled might learn or receive information.
– Sensitivity to cultural and racial diversity as it pertains to Christian education and formation.
– A desire to practice servant leadership and humility; a willingness to learn from others even as you lead them.
– Organizational and/or secretarial skills.

Mission and Social Justice Commission

Description: As agents of God’s justice, healing and love, the Mission and Social Justice (MSJ) Commission seeks to transform individuals, communities and systems of racial, social, economic and environmental oppression. MSJ ministries include: African Fellowship, Beloved Earth Community, Black Lives Matter, Coming Home, Ecclesia Ministry, Knitters and Crocheters at Riverside, Latinos/as at Riverside, Maranatha – Riverside’s LGBTQ Ministry, Men’s Class, Movies@Riverside, Prison Ministry, Sojourners, Sharing & Densford Funds, South Africa Support Group, and Theatre of the Oppressed.

List of Desired Skills/Duties:
– Demonstrated passion for justice, evidenced by their life work – either paid or volunteer.
– Ability to communicate how faith in God moves us to act for justice.
– Experience in team building and effective communication in Riverside and/or Harlem and NYC.
– Practiced in creative thinking to achieve positive change.

Worship Commission

Description: Responsible for the worship programs of the Church. It advises on the overall planning of the Sunday services, other worship services, and special services. It consults with the Director of Music on the music program of the Church for Sunday services and for special occasions. Primary among the duties of Worship Commission members is to remember that the Church is a living body, kept alive by responsive and meaningful worship in many forms.

List of Desired Skills/Duties:
– Regularly attend worship services and see it as the core of your involvement at Riverside.
– Be open to all forms of worship – traditional as well as innovative.
– Have imagination in envisioning the depth and richness of worship.
– Be willing to participate in the service as communion servers/preparers, greeters, and liturgical participants on a regular basis.
– Have organizational/secretarial skills.
– Have a positive and supportive attitude toward the leadership of Riverside Church.
– Respect the liturgies and rituals of the church as a primary means of meeting the spiritual needs of all the people.
– Appreciate the power of Word and Sacrament as understood by our affiliated denominations, i.e. ABC and UCC.
– Strive to envision new worship services (grounded in traditional forms of worship) that are responsive to the needs of changing times and diverse worshipers.

Budget & Planning Committee

Description: Reviews and revises the proposed annual operating and capital budgets prepared by Church staff for presentation to the Church Council and the Congregation for approval. The Committee is also responsible for monitoring spending through the year.

List of Desired Skills/Duties:
– Financial background.
– Ability to read and comprehend budget spreadsheets.
– Experience using excel or similar financial programs.
– Managerial/secretarial skills.
– Open to innovative ideas relating to budget planning.
– Committed to the financial health of The Riverside Church.