10 May, 2007

The Riverside Church's New Pastor Makes History


The Riverside Church in New York City has been no stranger to controversy over the years. Built in 1930, the church's first pastor, Harry Emerson Fosdick was noted for his liberal theology. Since the days of Fosdick's ministry, the church has continued to espouse and further many theologically liberal views.

Today the church, while considered interdenominational, is affiliated with both
the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Church, and until recently was pastored by Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr. But Forbes' recent retirement in December of 2006 brought the need to search for a new pastor. Thus a search committee was formed to find just the right 'person' for the job.

"This church has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to spirituality" said Faye Myers, the head of the pastoral search committee. "We weren't just going to limit our search to white men, or even men for that fact. Whether or not the candidate was gay, lesbian or transgendered made no difference to us. Our search was not about us and our prejudice but about where the spirit would lead us."

Numerous resumes and applications were examined. A number of candidates were called and interviewed until finally the committee just found the right 'person' for the job - Koko the 'talking gorilla.'

Koko, the 36-year-old gorilla, is famous for
supposedly being able to communicate with humans through the use of American sign language. Born in 1971, Koko has been taught by her trainer, Dr. Francine Patterson and other scientists to learn over 1000 signs. While some have questioned as to whether or not Koko has truly developed the ability to have independent cognitive thoughts, many herald her accomplishments as a major breakthrough in connecting humanity with its evolutionary past.

Koko's call to become the pastor of Riverside is the first time in history that a non-homosapien has ever been called to 'pastor' a Christian church of any kind.

"We realize that this is going to be considered by some to be unorthodox" said Myers. "But we view this as an opportunity to spread the love of all life. Koko will be able to teach us things about God that a human just couldn't achieve."

Koko glady accepted the call to pastor the church signing the phrase "I for kitten apple, apple, apple, in the sky, apple," which was interpreted by her translator to mean "I gladly and whole-heartedly accept this gracious opportunity to lead this congregation on the pathway of faith." She will preach her first 'sermon' on June 1, 2007. A translator will be present at every service to interpret Koko's sign language, and she will be rewarded with bananas after ever message.


Lee Shelton said...

I wonder...

Would the gift of tongues apply to those who communicate through sign language? At least the church is adhering to the biblical mandate of having an interpreter.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

I wonder if Koko is going to bash Calvinism like many other pastors. Koko is also going to share ministries with Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, and Joyce Meyer.

Anonymous said...


Stefan Ewing said...

No doubt you've seen this story, which is no parody.

harris bond said...

First off, about Koko: This could be the best pastor Riverside has had in generations. The one question though that i really have is, will she play the liturgical role of a precentor for congregational singing?

but secondly, hello thomas. i just happened onto your web site when i decided to google net finney, saw it was you, and i thoroughly enjoyed your excellent post adn will probably link other to it. i don't know where you are in the process towards st. p, but i hope all is well. - Harris Bond

pilgrim said...

I can hear the first sermon now-

"Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death."

clueuin said...

(In jamacian accent) See you, you na right.
(In American English/Jamiacian/African-Amercian accent, or just my voice.)
I's hope your not saying what I think your trying to say, hon. I hate to think that your trying to compare the new Riverside Church Pastor to a Gorilla? I may not agree with my church's choice but I will get all medievil on some people if they go there.
If it's all in fun, no harm done.
If your trying to rag, don't be mad, if some people want to kick...
Well one of the rules at this here blog is not cursing so....