The Reverend Adriene Thorne became the sixteenth pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, located at 124 Henry Street, between Clark Street and Love Lane, in an impressive installation ceremony that began at 4:00 this afternoon and lasted until 6:00, but seemed to pass quickly, as it was filled with stirring oratory, lively music, and scintillating humor.
The sermon was given by The Reverend Lisa Weaver, of the American Baptist Churches USA. She based her talk on the Hebrew Bible text for the ceremony, Exodus 15:20-21, which tells of how, following the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, the prophet Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, leads the Israelite women in a song of victory. Rev. Weaver then related this passage to other incidents in Miriam’s life, and to challenges she saw Rev. Thorne facing as a pastor. She illustrated how Rev. Thorne might respond to these challenges with dance moves: arabesques, pirouettes, pliés, and the like. This referred to Rev. Thorne’s earlier career as a member of the Dance Theater of Harlem’s Workshop Ensemble, as part of the touring ensemble of a Broadway musical, and as a Rockette.
Accepting her installation, Rev. Thorne thanked the Pastoral Nominating Committee that selected her, the congregation, the church staff, and others. She gave special mentions to: “The Divine Nine”, a circle of women clergy who have supported her through her progress toward a pulpit; “The Aunties”, women who have ably assisted her and her family; and her mother, who was present, and “who has never missed an opening night in my career.” Rev. Thorne said, “My picture of God is female because these women reflect back to me the person God created me to be. I love you all.”