MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, NY – Continuing its popular Distinguished Preacher Series—featuring some of the most powerful Christian preaching voices of today—The Riverside Church will host the Reverend Raquel A. St. Clair, the first woman to serve as the Executive Minister of the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ, as she leads service on Sunday, March 20 at 10:45 a.m.
“We are honored to have her participate in our Distinguished Preacher Series,” said Riverside Church Interim Senior Minister, Rev. Stephen H. Phelps. “As the first woman to serve as the Executive Minister of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first African American Co-Coordinator of the Women’s Center, Dr. St. Clair’s pioneering experiences will provide an enlightening perspective for those in attendance.”
As Executive Minister to the 6,000 members of the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ, Rev. St. Clair oversees all ministries, supervises the ministerial staff, equips and resources lay and clergy for ministry, and participates in the preaching and worship leadership of the church. In 2006, St. James became “One Church in 2 Locations,” opening a second worship in suburban Essex County, of which Rev. St. Clair is the ministry leader. Rev. St. Clair is also the founder of the Women’s Ministry, which currently includes two weekly women’s Bible Studies and special events.
Dr. St. Clair has served as Chaplain of the Association of Black Seminarians, Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) and as the first African American Co-Coordinator of the Women’s Center (PTS). She was one of two graduate student representatives in one of the nation’s largest professional societies of Biblical scholars, the Society of Biblical Literature, where she was a member of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession. Dr. St. Clair has served on the Advisory Board for The African American Pulpit, the only journal devoted exclusively to African American preaching.
Dr. St. Clair is a sought after preacher, speaker, Bible study teacher, staff development consultant, and workshop facilitator for many church-related and community oriented programs, as well as a published author. Her first publication, The African Presence in the Bible: Gospel Sermons Rooted in History, was co-authored with her pastor, Dr. William D. Watley. Dr. St. Clair’s article, “Womanist Biblical Interpretation” is included in True to Our Native Land, the first New Testament commentary written exclusively by African Americans with earned Ph.D.s. Dr. St. Clair’s first solo publication, Call and Consequences: A Womanist Reading of Suffering and Discipleship in Mark’s Gospel, was released in the Fall of 2008 from Fortress Press. She has forthcoming articles in More Power in the Pulpit, New Interpreters Bible Handbook on Preaching, and A Handbook of Feminist Biblical Theology.
The Distinguished Preacher Series will continue at Riverside on May 15, 2011 with its next guest preacher, The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad, the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Each participant of the Distinguished Preacher Series brings a history of inspired, reflective and acclaimed standing in the American pulpit. They are all noted for bringing their own special gifts and contributions to both the cultural and theological landscape, helping to nurture and lead devout Christians through the challenges of the world today.
The Riverside Church is an interracial, interdenominational and international church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927. The 1,200-member Riverside Church in Morningside Heights has a rich tradition of providing a forum for important civic and spiritual leaders. Past speakers include: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President William J. Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Fidel Castro, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.