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NEW YORK (RNS) Riverside's pulpit has been home to some of the most influential clergy in progressive Protestantism, including Harry Emerson Fosdick, William Sloane Coffin Jr. and James Forbes Jr.


  1. Female senior pastors coming for the 1st time to Riverside, Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago, And Foundry UMC in DC. A trend?

  2. Rev Dr Carl E Flemister

    I have been a contributing member of TRC for 49 years and rejoice that the pastoral search committee will report the nomination Rev Amy Butler for senior pastoral leadership.
    I was pleased also to learn that Dr Butler is currently serving the Calvary Baptist Church in DC. Dr George Hill left retirement from Calvary to serve TRC as interim. Praise God .

  3. Amy is definitely a PASTOR who cares for people, as the article suggests. I hope that pastoral spirit – also evidenced Pope Francis – is also a trend!

  4. The troubling part was the reporting of the difficulty with the pastor who resigned in 2009…a church that had difficulty with him “preaching from the Scriptures.” Isn’t that what churches are supposed to be doing anyway?

  5. The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw was installed as the eighth Dean of Grace Cathedral on November 6, 2010. She should counted along with the Rev. Amy Butler, The Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner and the Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli – See more at:

  6. The Southern Baptists have abandoned local congregational autonomy? Have they also abandoned “soul freedom”? If so, why are they calling themselves Baptists?

  7. I applaud Riverside and Pastor Butler. I have followed her blog for a year now and I am extremely excited for the congregation to have her to help them discover their way in living as Christ followers.
    And as a Baylor University alum, I cannot help but say, “Sic ‘Em Amy”!
    God is good all the time.

  8. I would suggest that there are more than two women leading significant Mainline churches. Certainly the Reverend Dr. Nancy Taylor is a nationally recognized Senior Pastor and highly regarded leader of progressive mainline Christianity and has been serving as the first woman senior pastor of Old South Church in Boston since 2005.

  9. Congratulations to Riverside Church for gettin’ on the train. We bring a perspective and a love to our pastorates. For the most part we don’t let competition get in the way of our ministry. We celebrate the accomplishments of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are blessed with Gods calling their lives and the listening hearts of congregations.

    You go, Amy!! Peace and deep Grace to your unfolding life.
    Rev. Peggy Wallace

  10. It seems that the main qualification for being called to these famous large churches is having a three-name name: Harry Emerson Fosdick, William Sloane Coffin, Shannon Johnson Kershner. :-)

    • John Stephenson

      Says Father R. Joseph Owles. Teehee! Congrats to TRC and Rev. Dr. Amy Butler!

  11. Rev. Mary Jo Gessner

    I worshipped at Riverside on World Comminion Sunday in 2012 (was doing work at the awesome Metro Baptist Church NYC with church members also from First Baptist Madison, AL) and enjoyed walking the long hall with huge portraits of previous pastors. I will be happy to see Amy’s portrait up there. The service was over 2 hours long that day, yet it felt like only 45 minutes had passed. Excellent worship service and Comminuty. A lot of dedicated ministers and lay leaders at Riverside.
    God bless you, Amy, and The Riverside Church for many more years of community service, world influence, and excellence in Worship.

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