First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn has called the Rev. Adriene Thorne as its new pastor. The announcement was made this week and is the culmination of a thorough discernment process by the church’s Pastor Nominating Committee.
The committee devoted several months to carefully reviewing applications and interviewing contenders. Together, committee members discerned whom to choose as the final candidate. They announced Thorne’s name to the congregation on April 10. A video introducing Thorne was presented and made available to the congregation. The following week, several meet-and-greet opportunities with the congregation took place. On Sunday, April 17, Thorne led worship and preached the sermon. A special congregational meeting was convened immediately following the liturgy for the purpose of hearing the final report of the Pastoral Nominating Committee and for the congregation to act upon Thorne’s nomination.
A native of Washington, D.C., Thorne is the eldest daughter of four siblings and was raised Roman Catholic, attending parochial school. She interrupted her college studies to pursue a life-long dream of being a classical ballerina. She completed her undergraduate studies as she also wrapped up a career in the performing arts that spanned almost 20 years.
Prior to discerning her call to the ministry, Thorne danced professionally with the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Workshop Ensemble and toured the U.S. and Canada in a Broadway musical. She has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, where she held the center spot as a World Famous Rockette. Thorne is the founder of Everything That Breathes, a national organization connecting artists with faith communities for the purposes of sharing the gospel in fresh and creative ways.
Thorne earned her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York — Empire State College, concentrating in the field of cultural studies with a creative writing focus. She then pursued and earned a Master’s of Divinity degree in art, religion and psychology from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, where she was awarded the school’s highest honor. She completed post-graduate studies in pastoral care and counseling at the Blanton-Peale Institute and is certified as a coach and disaster chaplain.
Thorne’s recent congregational service for the past eight years was as executive minister at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village.
She is ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church in America. She has served as a member of the Reformed Church in America’s Commission on Christian Worship, the RCA’s Global Mission Task Force, and as a Room for All board member, advocating for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life and ministry of the Reformed Church in America. She is also active with interfaith and ecumenical organizations and professional ministry groups.
Healing and the arts are central to Thorne’s ministry and life. Her theology of healing says the arts “have the ability to drop us into the center of ourselves and our healing, more quickly than anything else we can access,” according to the introduction published on First Presbyterian Church’s weekly e-newsletter.
Thorne has taught throughout her career, both nationally and internationally, developing curricula for all age groups that integrates movement with concepts of team-building identity and healthy living. She has served as visiting artist/theologian at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, as lecturer in the area of spiritual formation at Union Theological Seminary, and as keynote speaker and preacher at the Pacific School of Religion. Her work has been published in the Huffington Post religion section, That Reformed Blog and in The Twelve, where she has appeared as a guest writer.
Thorne’s start date will be announced soon. When she arrives, she will be leading a congregation that has been active in Brooklyn since 1822.