Christian Education

The Gotto Lecture Series

Through the Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture Series, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church offers compelling talks and presentations by renowned theologians and preachers, writers and scholars, across a range of faith traditions and academic disciplines.

On Oct. 22, 2020, Emma Green, religion and politics writer for The Atlantic, delivered our third-annual Gotto lecture: Red, Fight, and Blue: How Religious America Became So Divided.

>>Listen Here<<

Green has spent nearly a decade covering religious communities at moments of tension and change. Among her recent stories is a series on the aftermath of a shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, when a professed white supremacist killed 11 Jews in worship and injured several others. She has also written about the Christians living in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain, who have reached a demographic crisis after decades of relentless violence and political persecution, and the diaspora communities of Chaldean Catholics who have settled in cities like Detroit.

These stories, she says, share a common goal: they invite readers to think deeply and differently about faith and community, and to be better neighbors and citizens as a result.

Green grew up in the suburbs of Nashville and studied politics at Georgetown University, experiences that shaped her understanding of the role of faith in American communities and the influence of the church in geopolitics worldwide. In 2019 she won three first-place awards from the Religion News Association in the categories of feature writing, magazine reporting, and religion-news analysis. She has spoken and participated in academic dialogue at leading universities across the United States, including Princeton, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis and Notre Dame University.

In addition to The Atlantic, her work has been published in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and she has appeared on CNN, MSNBC and National Public Radio. She lives in New York City with her husband and newborn son.

Past Speakers

David Brooks
In 2019, New York Times columnist and best-selling author David Brooks headlined the Gotto Lecture. In addition to his work as a columnist and commentator, Brooks is the author of four books, including The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (2019). He is also an executive director of The Aspen Institute, where he leads Weave: The Social Fabric Project. His lecture was entitled, “Sacred Bonds: How to Weave Americans Back Together.” A replay of this lecture is available here.

Dr. Jonathan Haidt
The first speaker in the series was the moral psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jonathan Haidt. Dr. Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is the author of three books—The Happiness Hypothesis (2006), The Righteous Mind: How Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012) and The Coddling of the American Mind (with Greg Lukianoff, 2018). His lecture—“How Three Terrible Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, and How Ancient Wisdom Can Lead to a Brighter Future”—built on the message of these books.

About the Anita & Antonio Gotto Lecture Series

Inaugurated in October 2018, the Gotto Lecture Series is made possible through a generous contribution from Anita and Antonio Gotto, longtime members of the congregation.

The Gotto Lecture Series builds on the success of Fifth Avenue’s visiting authors program, created by Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston in 2010. This program has featured such acclaimed writers as James Carroll, Thomas Long, Marilynne Robinson, Barbara Brown Taylor and Christian Wiman. 

Anita and Antonio Gotto are both natives of Nashville, Tennessee, where they attended Vanderbilt University. They lived in Houston for 25 years, where they raised their family. Tony Gotto was chair of internal medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. Anita, a former teacher, served on a number of community boards. The Gottos moved to New York in 1997, when Tony became the dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. They joined Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1998, where Tony has served on the Board of Trustees and Anita on the Session.