Judson Church will celebrate Moody’s birthday, launch book


By Albert Amateau

Judson Memorial Church will celebrate the birthday of the Reverend Howard Moody, 88, minister emeritus, who served the church on Washington Square South for more than three turbulent decades, with an April 16 launching of his book, “A Voice in the Village: A Journey of a Pastor and a People.”

Moody, the guest of honor, will autograph copies of the book, published by Xlibris, with remembrances of everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Lenny Bruce, at the April 16 event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church.

Moody, who now divides his time between his residences in Santa Barbara, Cal., and Manhattan, was Judson’s senior minister from 1956 to 1992. He was in the forefront of free speech, voting rights, integration and the reform of education and politics.

Under Moody’s leadership, Judson became the home of avant-garde art, theater, dance and especially musical theater under the direction of assistant pastor and composer Al Carmines.

Moody led Judson’s advocacy for heroin addicts with the formation of one of the city’s first clinics for addiction recovery. Later, the church pioneered advocacy for people with AIDS and provided a site for an early H.I.V. drug trial. Moody organized Clergy Consultation on Abortion to help women find safe abortions in 1967. With his associate Arlene Carmen, Moody took up the cause of street prostitutes with a van that cruised the city offering “working women” a safe refuge, where they could snack on cookies home-baked by Judson congregants and talk about their children.

Moody is ordained in the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ, and is an emeritus member of the New York Civil Liberties Union board of directors. He is also the author of several books, as well as articles that appeared in Playboy, The Nation, The Christian Century and Christianity & Crisis.