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James A. Forbes (2001)

James A. Forbes

James A. Forbes

The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., is a Senior Minister of The Riverside Church and host of “The Time is Now” on Air America Radio. The Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, and international church built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in 1927. The 2,400-member church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ.

Forbes, who was installed as the fifth Senior Minister of Riverside on June 1, 1989, is the first African-American to serve as Senior Minister of this multicultural congregation. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America.

Before being called to Riverside’s pulpit, Dr. Forbes served from 1976-1985 as the Brown and Sockman Associate Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. From 1985-1989 he was Union’s first Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching. Union named him the first Harry Emerson Fosdick Adjunct Professor of Preaching in 1989, when he accepted the pastorate at Riverside.

In national and international religious circles, Dr. Forbes is known as the preacher’s preacher because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style. In their March 4, 1996, issue Newsweek magazine recognized Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world. This pastor, educator, administrator, community activist, and interfaith leader was designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony magazine in 1984 and 1993.

—Courtesy of the Riverside Church, New York

Recommended Reading:

Whose Gospel?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Protestantism
by James A. Forbes

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