Who We Are
Dr. Rivera serves as the Senior Pastor of the Primitive Christian Church (La Iglesia Cristiana Primitiva) in Lower Manhattan since 1994. The church is a vibrant bilingual multicultural urban ministry that is home to people from many cultures and walks of life. Prior to becoming its Senior Pastor, Dr. Rivera served the same church for 16 years as Associate Pastor. He has been in pastoral ministry there for over 30 years.
In 1991, after working on Wall Street for over a decade, Dr. Rivera left a promising career with a high tech Fortune 500 corporation to enter full time pastoral ministry. Today, Dr. Rivera is considered a resource in the area of urban inner city ministry. He is sought after because of his depth of knowledge of the Latino church and it’s emerging role in the 21st century.
Dr. Rivera serves on several boards, bringing his experience and insight to assist organizations maximize their potential. He provides spiritual counsel and guidance to individuals in the corporate and civic sectors, as well as to leaders in the community of faith. He served as Vice Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the 2005 Billy Graham Greater New York Crusade. In fact at the invitation of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Dr. Rivera traveled to the Montreet, North Carolina home of Dr. Graham to personally invite him to come to New York for his final crusade. Additionally, Dr. Rivera is the Co-Founder and Chair of Vision Urbana, Inc., a non-profit community based organization with offices in Lower Manhattan.
He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work in the community and his exemplary leadership during the 9/11 attack. His efforts were permanently inserted in the United States Senate Congressional Record of October 9, 2001. More recently, Dr. Rivera was recognized with the 2007 Outstanding Ministry Award by the New York City Council of Churches.
A graduate of the Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute in New York City, Dr. Rivera holds a seminary Masters Degree in Urban Ministry from the Alliance Theological Seminary. He also has an earned doctorate degree from the Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, being the first Latino to earn such an advanced degree in the urban track. He is married to the Rev. Enid Rios Rivera since 1976. They have two grown sons, Timothy (and daughter-in-law, Kimberly) and Matthew, and granddaughter Bella Nicole Rivera. They are life-long residents of Lower Manhattan.