Comprising the sermons preached by William Sloane Coffin while he was senior minister at the prestigious Riverside Church in New York City, The Collected Sermons of William Sloane Coffin—The Riverside Years captures the renowned preacher and social activist at work: ministering to American hostages in Iran, supporting AIDS awareness, and rallying his audiences to battle poverty and nuclear proliferation—all the while celebrating marriages, baptisms, and Mother’s Days and mourning the loss of loved ones, including his own son. In each of these brilliant and painstakingly crafted sermons, Coffin combined his deep love of Scripture and passionate commitment to peace and justice with his unparalleled gift for the spoken word. While also revealing the personal and pastoral dimensions of ministry, each sermon provides a powerful example of life’s well-accomplished mission: to challenge the conscience of a nation.
For those who knew William Sloane Coffin, these sermons will be a treasured remembrance. For those who regret not knowing him, they provide the best of introductions. And for those who as yet have escaped Coffin’s influence, they are superb testimony to the great potential of ministry, the possibilities of hope and determination, and the remarkable power of one human voice.
Rev. William Sloane Coffin (1924–2006) for half a century stood as a force for progressive religion in America and in the world. He became famous in the 1960s, when he was chaplain at Yale University, for his very public opposition to the Vietnam War. He was indicted by the government in the Benjamin Spock conspiracy trial, marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., was jailed as a Freedom Rider, and became one of the most forceful Christian voices in the civil rights movement. He then served as Senior Minister of the prestigious Riverside Church in New York City, where he inspired thousands and continued to be a powerful voice for conscience and change. He was the first president of SANE/FREEZE: Campaign for Global Security and lobbied for nuclear disarmament.