Magazine article The Christian Century

New Pastor Quits Riverside Church amid Conflict

Magazine article The Christian Century

New Pastor Quits Riverside Church amid Conflict

Article excerpt

THE SENIOR minister of New York City's famed Riverside Church has resigned just two months following his installation, after a nasty fight with his new flock landed the church in court.

Brad Braxton's abrupt departure comes amid congregational discord over the church's mission and the pastor's compensation package, which critics estimated to be as high as $600,000. Church officials said the package was consistent with those for similar high-profile pulpits.

Chosen last September out of 200 applicants to be Riverside's sixth senior minister, the former Rhodes scholar saw strife from day one. In April four church members unsuccessfully sued to block his installation, alleging violations of church bylaws relating to his compensation package.

The congregation, whose soaring church building was constructed by tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. on Manhattan's Upper West Side in 1927, has become renowned for its interracial and interdenominational brand of preaching and social action.

Braxton was the second African American chosen to lead the 2,400-member congregation, following James Forbes, who retired June 1, 2007. …

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