In the beginning
Lesbians and Gays have always been active and welcome at The Riverside Church in New York City although not necessarily self-identified as such in early times of the Church. Homosexuals were in the choir, Sunday school teachers, staff, board of ushers, and Deacons, etc. but not “out” except to their friends at Riverside.
The Riverside Church's founding minister, Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick first counseled a homosexual in his church in about 1922. In his 1943 book, “On Being A Real Person,” he is the first American minister to encourage education of clergy in dealing with the issue of homosexuality.
Many of the persons in the Iconology of The Riverside Church were lesbians or gays (Michelangelo, Socrates, St. Augustine, Jane Addams, etc.)
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Several sculptures like these adorn The Riverside Church. Many of the persons in the Iconology of The Riverside Church were lesbians or gays (Michelangelo, Socrates, St. Augustine, Jane Addams, etc.)
For instance, this Chancel Screen on the East wall in the Nave is called "Christ the Lover of Beauty," and we find the following: (1) John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), poet of Nature.
(2) Fra Angelica (1387-1455), whose frescoes breathe still the spirituality and mystical charm of a great religious painter.
(3) John Milton (1608-1674) in his blindness saw the "beauty which the eye cannot see."
(4) Giovanni Palestrina (c. 1524-1594). father of modern church music.
(5) Leonardo da Vinci (1452- 1519), the most versatile genius of the Renaissance.
(6) Christ the Lover of Beauty.
(7) Michelangelo (1475-1564), the greatest sculptor of the Renaissance.
(8) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685- 1750), the greatest composer of organ music.