The Reverend Adriene Thorne, leader of The First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, has been voted in by the Congregation of Riverside Church as the eighth senior minister in the church’s history. Rev. Thorne is the first African American woman to serve as senior minister. She will begin her post on October 1.
“I am grateful to God for the blessed opportunity to bring my gifts to the Riverside Church and to join with the faithful servants there who are tirelessly nurturing God’s fresh vision of the Beloved Community,” said Rev. Thorne. “In this tumultuous chapter in our nation’s story, I am excited to lead an engaged community of faith that has the grace and fortitude to repair the harm visited upon God’s planet and people.”
“I welcome and celebrate Riverside’s enthusiastic call to the Rev. Adriene Thorne to become its eighth Senior Minister,” said Rev. Michael Livingston, who has served as interim senior minister since 2019. “Rev. Thorne brings a genuine pastoral presence and prophetic voice to Riverside. Her creative passion for music, art, and dance deepen her broad experience as she begins this work. What a wonderful marriage of pastor and people this will be!”
Rev. Thorne was chosen from a nationwide field of candidates by a specially appointed eleven-member lay Senior Minister Search Committee, assisted by Riverside’s two denominational affiliations, the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Churches USA. The search committee reviewed the candidacies of dozens of individuals over the course of the last eighteen months.
Before being named as Riverside’s senior minister, Rev. Thorne served The First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn since 2016. Beginning in 2008 she spent eight years at Middle Collegiate Church in a variety of ministerial roles, concluding her service there as Executive Minister. With neighborhood partners, she co-founded the award-winning Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge in 2021 which won the Nextdoor Love Your Neighborhood Award, was featured at the Nextdoor initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange, and highlighted in Real Simple magazine. Adriene completed post-graduate studies in pastoral care and counseling at The Blanton-Peale Institute and is a certified life coach and disaster chaplain. Adriene received her Master of Divinity degree from The Pacific School of Religion where she earned the Koinonia Award, the school’s highest honor given to those who strengthened the seminary through outstanding contributions of spirit, insight, and intellect.