Dr. Arthur Caliandro
Dr. Arthur Caliandro was an extraordinary human being and his biography is impressive. His broad appeal was based on an anecdotal, extemporaneous sermon delivery drawing on personal experiences and observations. This "take-home value" style of preaching endeared him to the congregation at Marble Collegiate Church and countless others listening on television, radio, and the Internet worldwide.
Perhaps more remarkable than his pulpit ministry was the manner in which he acted as a shepherd, chief encourager, and community builder to a very diverse congregation gathered to worship God on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Dr. Arthur Caliandro's gift as a "people's minister" from 1984 to 2009 shaped the character of Marble Collegiate Church. Through his remarkable ministry, Marble acquired the reputation locally and nationally for offering a positive, non-judgmental setting in which all are welcome to explore their faith journey. Congregants felt safe to share their stories and express their hopes, needs, and doubts without reproach because Dr. Caliandro set the example. With a firm belief that God loves each of us and wants to be intimately involved in our lives, he led Marble Church to become a place-in which a miracle can take place.
Born in Portland, Maine, Dr. Caliandro was the son of a Methodist minister and one of three brothers who all joined the ministry. He knew at a very young age that he, too, wanted to be a minister. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and Union Theological Seminary, Dr. Caliandro began preaching in rural churches in Ohio and Brooklyn, New York. In 1967 he heeded the call from Marble Collegiate Church and, as a young Associate Minister, was given the mission to build community. In the fall of 1984, Dr. Caliandro succeeded Dr. Norman Vincent Peale as Senior Minister and was formally installed on March 8, 1985.
A myriad of initiatives shepherded by Dr. Caliandro have taken place at Marble Church: Women are included in ministry, on the Board of Elders and Deacons, and as ushers. He founded an interfaith partnership of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Program ministries now serve the LGBT community as well as young adults, women, men, couples, entrepreneurs, and artists. Christian education is offered to infants through adults. A dynamic music ministry flourishes and a speaker series featuring renowned public figures draws an audience that might not otherwise enter a church. All these and more serve over 15,000 people annually, apart from Sunday morning worship. Through Dr. Caliandro's leadership, Marble has supported a number of progressive outreach and service organizations. Our annual Easter Offering has helped build a church in Budapest and funded a college education for a grade school class in Harlem. The Action Table, part of Marble's community outreach ministry, serves others through Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and New York Cares. Volunteers provide meals for the homeless and elderly, sponsor Christmas and Easter parties for children and families in need, and contribute to back-to-school initiatives.
Dr. Caliandro had an uncanny ability to listen intently, not only as a pastor attending the needs of an individual but with a common-sense approach to problem-solving solutions for the greater community. Often those who participated with him in an exchange of ideas, experienced in the process, their own spiritual growth.
Dr. Caliandro passed away on December 30, 2012. He was married to Sandra Graham Caliandro. He was a father to Paul and Charles (predeceased), and grandfather to Christopher, Nicholas, Isabella, Nils, and Claudia.
A Quiet Hero
A Timeline of Dr. Arthur Caliandro’s Ministry at Marble Collegiate Church
January 1, 1967: Dr. Caliandro joins the staff of Marble Collegiate Church as Minister of Evangelism.
May 9, 1975: Dr. Caliandro is installed as a Collegiate Associate Minister, the forty-sixth minister of the Collegiate Church.
1984: Dr. Caliandro succeeds Dr. Norman Vincent Peale as Senior Minister of Marble Collegiate Church.
2008: Dr. Caliandro and Dr. Ed Mulder completed the stained glass windows in the Sanctuary and over the Fifth Avenue door, a vision that was begun in 1891 by Dr. Burrell.
November, 1975: Marble launches into Cable TV with Dr. Caliandro’s brother Bruno Caliandro as the Director.
1980’s-2009: Dr. Caliandro continues a 40+ year run on WOR Radio, the most listened-to station in America. The program airs Sunday evening throughout the entire East Coast.
1982: The Cassette Ministry begins. Recordings of Dr. Peale’s and Dr. Caliandro’s Sunday sermons are made available immediately after the worship service.
1987: Under Dr. Caliandro’s leadership, a public relations firm is hired and a sweeping ad campaign is developed and continues to identify Marble as a place of inclusiveness and healing.
1987: Dr. Caliandro’s media ministry – Making Your Life Count Ministries – airs locally on Manhattan Cable and nationwide on the VISN network. His printed sermons, cassettes, radio and television broadcasts reach a national audience.
1993: Marble’s media ministry changes its name to MarbleVision.
1999: The world premiere of a weekly network series called “Simple Faith with Dr. Arthur Caliandro” on the Hallmark Channel is seen in over 80 million homes worldwide.
2007: With Dr. Caliandro’s forward-leaning vision, MarbleVision video streams its weekly Sunday Worship to a worldwide audience on the Internet.
2008: Marble Church takes its message to YouTube, producing videos including “man on the street” interviews where people respond to the questions “Is God in New York City?” and “Do you believe in miracles?”
1986: The Hotel Outreach Committee is organized, offering aid and programs for youth to families in nearby welfare hotels.
1986: An increased thrust in Christian benevolence is launched. The Easter Offering soars to new levels as the church responds to the needs of the community, benefiting those in need locally and abroad.
1987: The Tri-Faith Shelter for homeless men is established in cooperation with Temple Emanu-El and St. Francis De Sales RC. Three faiths work together to help those in need.
1987: Marble Collegiate Church becomes the first church in America to sponsor an “I Have A Dream” program, guaranteeing a college education to sixth graders at P.S. 92 who qualified by graduating from high school.
1989: Marble adopts and finances the building of a Reformed Church in Budapest, Hungary, in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union.
1991: Dr. Caliandro and Dr. James. A Forbes, Jr. of the Riverside Church, found A Partnership of Faith in New York City, an interfaith group of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim clergy who meet regularly to explore their faith traditions and promote reconciliation. The annual Thanksgiving “trialogue” sermon with an Imam and a Rabbi joining Dr. Caliandro on the Chancel is born.
1977: The Prayer Partnership begins. A lay committee is formed to pray for every church member during the course of the year. This program marks the beginning of the successful partnership of Dr. Florence Pert and Dr. Caliandro who would, over the next three decades, create and develop programming to meet the needs of the church and the diverse community it serves.
1993: A committee is established to plan more formal engagement of the gay and lesbian members of the church. In 1994, GIFTS (Gays/Lesbians in Faith, Tradition and Service) is launched, affirming the spiritual call of welcoming and including all in the life of the Marble Community.
1991: At the beginning of the Persian Gulf War, Dr. Caliandro takes a stand with rising voice from Marble’s pulpit and social and professional circles, speaking out against war as a solution.
2006: Marble marks the third anniversary of the war in Iraq by holding a prayer vigil and begins the Prayers for Peace project. Names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan are attached to yellow ribbons on the church fence. Blue ribbons acknowledge the loss of local civilians in those war-torn countries. Green ribbons signify peace.
Publications by Dr. Caliandro
1980: Dr. Caliandro’s first book, Make Your Life Count, is published by Harper & Row.
2000: His second book Simple Steps –Ten Things You Can Do to Create an Exceptional Life is published by McGraw Hill.
2004: Lost and Found - 23 Things You Can Do to Find Personal Freedom is published by McGraw Hill. 2008: MarbleVision publishes a collection of Dr. Caliandro’s sermons entitled Simple Faith: Messages of Hope and Love.
Editor’s Note: We are certain that there are significant moments, people and facts that have been omitted due to lack of space, the right piece of information or human error. Please forgive us.
Dr. Caliandro's Final Sermon at Marble
On Sunday, February 1, 2009, Dr. Arthur Caliandro delivered his final sermon from the pulpit of Marble Collegiate Church. It was a touching message that reflected his 42 years of ministry dedicated to faith, hope, and love.
Go with Faith by Dr. Arthur Caliandro
Purchase a CD or DVD copy of this sermon
In Memory of Dr. Arthur Caliandro (1933-2012)
View the full Memorial Service.
You can read the New York Times obituary.
Please visit www.arthurcaliandro.com if you would like to leave loving comments and memories to be shared with others.