We don't know what's going on uptown but it sure does look ugly. Two months into his term, the Reverend is out on the street.
This makes the worst shul politics look like kindergarten.
Riverside Church Pastor Resigns After 2 Months
By Paul Vitello
The pastor of Riverside Church, the renowned bastion of liberal theology and social activism on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is resigning after just two months on the job.
The pastor, the Rev. Dr. Brad R. Braxton, has been the focus of a fierce battle within the congregation over his compensation package and the mission of the church. He said he notified the church’s board Monday night that he was stepping down.
A week before his installation in April, a group of dissident congregants went to State Supreme Court in Manhattan seeking to block the ceremony, saying that he and the board had been unnecessarily secretive about the church’s finances. They also complained that Dr. Braxton was moving Riverside away from its tradition of interracial progressivism and toward a conservative style of religious practice. The judge refused to block the installation, and urged both sides to reach an accord.
Since its founding in 1930 as a Gothic cathedral built by John D. Rockefeller, Riverside Church has espoused a progressive and often pacifist agenda. But internal battles have plagued the congregation for more than a decade.
Longtime members ascribe some of the tension to changes in the racial makeup of the 2,700-member congregation, which was once about 60 percent white and 40 percent black, and now is roughly the reverse. Some of the troubles are traced to generational differences, between older whites with roots in the civil rights era and younger, middle-class black members who are less politicized.
Dr. Braxton, 39, a Baptist minister and former Rhodes scholar who was chosen in September by a committee that considered more than 200 candidates, appeared to knit together both those traditions, calling himself a “progressive evangelical.”
But his opponents kept up their attacks, saying that his pay package exceeded $600,000 a year, including a $250,000 salary and a housing allowance. Experts on American churches said the pastor’s compensation was well above average among pastors nationwide, but within the range of packages for senior pastors of similar major churches in other big cities. ...more...