We are more than thrilled to announce Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, president and founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation and Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church, and Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina, as the Co-Chairs for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry! These two gentlemen have proven themselves intrepid pioneers of what it means to be peacemakers in a culture of violence. SCUPE is incredibly excited for their vision, passion, and leadership to shape and guide the 2011 Congress.
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. is Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church and President of the Healing of the Nations Foundation. Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, and international church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927. The church, whose pulpit has often served as the Conscience of the Nation, is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark speech “Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence”. The 2,400-member church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ.
Forbes, who was installed as the fifth Senior Minister of Riverside on June 1, 1989, and retired on June 1, 2007, was the first African-American to serve as Senior Minister of this multicultural congregation. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America.
Upon his retirement, Forbes founded the Healing of the Nations Foundation to promote the healing of our nation and the recovery of the moral and spiritual values that inspired its founding by fostering a level of spiritual awareness that empowers individuals and communities to become a compassionate voice and a committed force that takes action for peace, justice, interfaith partnership and environmental responsibility.
Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger is pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina. In 1981, at the age of 31, he became the youngest full pastor in the diocese when he was appointed to Saint Sabina in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of South Chicago. Since that time Pfleger has become well-known as a social critic, prophetic preacher, and spiritual leader.
Pfleger has been recognized nationwide for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, drugs, gun proliferation, video gambling, the degradation of women, and racism in numerous magazines, newspapers, and television programs. As an outspoken voice against violence he has organized hundreds of social actions promoting peace and community values in the face of violence.
As a minister, Father Pfleger has sought to break down the walls of racism and denominationalism by building unity among all people founded on truth and based on Jesus’ command to love one another. Pfleger was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in 2009 and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Office of Racial Justice of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2010.