Tours include a brief history of the church and a summary of its programs as well as informed visits to Christ Chapel, Gethsemane Chapel, the Nave and the Chancel. The organ console is usually included as well.
Located on the Upper West Side, on the edge of the Morningside and Harlem communities of New York City, the edifice is modeled after the 13th Century gothic cathedral in Chartres, France. Its gothic tower stands as a beacon to the world and continues to bring people with very different perspectives together.
Exterior: From The Outside Looking In…
“Prophetic, germinative ideas are here; there are open doors of possibility for good as well as evil…”
–Harry Emerson Fosdick
A bird’s eye-view of The Riverside Church from the Hudson River with its surrounding community in the background. Surrounding the church are religious and educational institutions and the public parks of Morningside Heights and Harlem.
The Riverside Church is 100 feet wide and covers two city blocks. The tower, rising to a height of 392 feet, is the first of its kind to serve a functional purpose, providing 24 floors for the congregation’s programs.
The Riverside Church is situated at one of the highest points of New York City, overlooking the Hudson River and 122nd Street.
Interior: From The Inside Looking Out…
In the Nave of The Riverside Church, the strivings and aspirations of humanity pervade which is a tribute to its founders, architects, artists, and craftsmen, and to their dedication to the glory of God.
The Labyrinth on the floor of the chancel has been adapted from the maze at Chartres, one of the few such medieval designs in existence.
The pulpit has welcomed speakers from far and near: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached his famous anti-Vietnam War sermon from this pulpit; Nelson Mandela addressed the nation during an interfaith celebration welcoming him to America; Marian Wright-Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund spoke about the need to provide quality healthcare to all children; and the well-known Dr. Tony Campolo delivered a sermon concerning affluence in America.
Christ Chapel, patterned after the eleventh century Romanesque nave of the fortress church of St. Nazaire at Carcassonne, belongs architecturally to an earlier period than does the rest of the church.
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