The Reverend Adriene Thorne is the eighth senior minister of the historic Riverside Church in the City of New York and the first African American woman to hold the position. Prior to leading Riverside, Adriene served The First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn for six years where she cofounded the award-winning Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge and where the community named her one of the Top Ten Most Impactful People. After seminary, Adriene spent eight years at Middle Collegiate Church in a variety of ministerial roles, concluding her service there as the Executive Minister.
Adriene received her Master of Divinity degree from The Pacific School of Religion where she earned the Koinonia Award, the school’s highest honor, given to those who strengthened the seminary through outstanding contributions of spirit, insight, and intellect. She completed post-graduate studies in pastoral care and counseling at The Blanton-Peale Institute and is a certified life coach and disaster chaplain.
Adriene is a healer, Presbyterian minister, and classically trained dancer who uses movement to heal bodies in the church and community. She has been a dancing theologian for over twenty years and is the originator of Embodied Pastoring. Adriene studies Somatic Abolitionism with NY Times best-selling author and renowned coach, Resmaa Menakem, and with her experience, both in church and on stage, she brings unparalleled creativity and movement to her work of anti-racist practice and culture building.
When she is feeling open, though, Adriene will tell you that she has learned more about God from nature, art, and her child than from any classroom or book. Adriene’s background in the performing arts includes credits with The Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Metropolitan Opera, and the world-famous Radio City Rockettes among others. When she is not parenting, pastoring, creating, or mentoring, Adriene is probably SCUBA diving a coral reef, on the squash court, or in the dance studio, fantasizing about what is newly possible.
Adriene grounds her Christian practice and leadership in an appreciation for imperfection that attempts to embody robust vulnerability. She leads with an understanding that even the resurrected Christ came back in a flawed body – what hopeful news for us! Adriene believes that everyone brings gifts to the table and that we teach one another. She is grateful for the wisdom found in collaborative leadership and delights in anyone who tries to listen well. Stepping back to step forward, Adriene has learned the tremendous power of silence and stillness for her own leadership joy.