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Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera

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Since 1964, the Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera has served our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as pastor, preacher, denominational executive, organization founder, and community builder. 

Throughout this time, he has preached, taught, and modeled Christ-centered holistic ministry, particularly in an urban context.


/files/Pictures/Rivera4.jpgIn the late-1960s through the 1970s, Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera was Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Sunset Park Re-development Housing Initiatives in Brooklyn.  He was Community Coordinator of the Lutheran Medical Center and developed community outreach programs for clergy and community-based organizations.

In the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, he was President and Founder of the R.A.P. Foundation, which provided   services to youth and children in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, including employment training, recreational programs, group homes for delinquents, and an after-school and evening center for children and youth.

/files/Pictures/Rivera5.jpgFrom 1975 to 1984, he was the National Executive for the Hispanic Council of the Reformed Church in America.  In this position, he empowered churches to serve as catalysts for change in communities throughout the USA and Latin America.  He also served during this time on the Board of Trustees of the New York Theological Seminary and helped develop training programs for the Latino and Black clergy and laity that helped equip and empower them to better serve the community.

In the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, he worked as an educational advocate and trainer in School Districts #1 and #4 in Manhattan, empowering parents to become partners in the educational process.  Consequently, parents were elected to school boards, school-based management teams, and other policy committees within the educational system.

/files/Pictures/Rivera7.jpgIn 1992, he founded the Latino Pastoral Action Center (LPAC), which started as a division of the Manhattan-based NYC Mission Society, the city's oldest and largest social service agency.  LPAC began after Rev. Dr. Rivera struggled with the dichotomy of the secular versus the sacred.  His vision was to develop an organization that dealt with social justice issues from a holistic perspective, thus merging the two.  Over the years, he has provided leadership development and technical assistance to hundreds of churches and faith-based organizations around the country, and dozens have developed holistic community-based ministries, including spiritual care, after-school, youth development, and adult education programs.

In 1996, NYC Mission Society gave LPAC its Cadet Corps building on 170th Street and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx as a gift.  Rev. Dr. Rivera subsequently established the building as its headquarters, and named it the Urban Ministry Complex (UMC).  He has since launched holistic community ministries, including the Fatherhood Initiative, First Steps Childcare Center, Greater Heights Youth Program, and New Hope After School Program. The UMC has been an effective incubator for infusing Christian principles and values into traditional community-based programs.  It also has afforded LPAC a concrete model for helping groups develop their own holistic ministries.

/files/Pictures/Rivera8.jpgIn 1999, after years as a public education reformer, Rev. Dr. Rivera led a team of community and education leaders to establish the Family Life Academy Charter School.  The K-5 school helps children to achieve high standards, take responsibility for their own learning, and explore and affirm human values.

In 2001, he launched the Sanctuary Church, a local Christian community for renewal and restoration.  In 2002, he launched Project Liberty: Beacon Outreach NY, a citywide outreach and crisis counseling program for individuals, families, and groups affected by the September 11 tragedy.  In 2003, he launched Liberation Manor, a citywide residence for the homeless.

In 2004, he launched the National Urban Ministry Project, an AmeriCorps-based service delivery and capacity building partnership with four other faith-based organizations:

  • Ayuda Community Center in Philadelphia, PA;
  • La Capilla del Barrio in Chicago, IL;
  • My Friend's House in Whittier, CA; and
  • Spanish Evangelical Church in Lawrence, MA.

In partnership, he aims to revitalize these cities by guiding youth and adults to a life-long calling of personal and community growth.

In 2005, he launched the House of Healing, a citywide residential transformation center for men seeking liberation from substance abuse captivity.  That same year, he launched the National Holistic Ministry Development Program (NHMDP) in New York, NY and Chicago, IL (with support from La Capilla del Barrio). 

/files/Pictures/IMG_3903.JPGIn 2007, he began operating the Transforming Youth Capacity Building Project (TY), a three-year capacity building and leadership development initiative that assists faith-based and community-based organizations in developing youth servant leaders around the issues of gang prevention, youth violence, and child abuse/neglect.

That same year, he also launched the Bronx Capacity Building Project, a one-year capacity building and leadership development initiative that targeted nine (9) Bronx faith-based and community-based organizations.

In September 2008, he launched the Youth Service and Capacity Project (YSCP), a one-year capacity building and leadership development initiative that assists faith-based and community-based organizations serving out-of-school youth. 

/files/Pictures/Rivera6.jpgRev. Dr. Rivera lives in the Bronx with his wife, Marilyn.  They have five children: Susana, Esteban, Joel, Stacy, and Adam, and four grandchildren: Elijah, Amelia, Adam, and Hector "Little Manny."  The three eldest children are involved in holistic community-based ministry.

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