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Jake Goes to Church: Part 1

FaithStreet Intern Jake Dinsmore moved to New York City this Fall from the Great Northwest to attend The King’s College.  Jake has embarked on a journey that FaithStreet is trying to help others with: Finding a church to call home in NYC.  Here, Jake shares his thoughts on a few of the churches that he has visited.

By: Jacob Dinsmore

St. John’s Church

In a quiet corner of Greenwich Village, near Perry St. and 7th Ave, St. John’s Episcopal Church holds a Healing Liturgy on Wednesday nights at 6:15 pm.

Coming from a more charismatic background, I’ve had little personal experience with liturgical services. But I was also unfamiliar with the idea of a “healing liturgy” and thought it might be an interesting way to get acquainted with the more conservative side of the Body of Christ.

The service was small (maybe 5-6 members), reverent and traditional.  The handful of people there (who seemed to be regulars) were warm and welcoming.

Prayers and scriptures were read from prayer books in the Episcopalian tradition, focusing specifically on comfort and healing and provision for the sick and suffering in the church. The minister also gave a short message, in this case commemorating the recently deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs and encouraging his audience to pursue careers that engaged their interests and passions in life.

After the short sermon some of those in attendance came to the altar and received prayer for healing and comfort from the minister.  We were then invited to take communion, led through more scripture and prayer and dismissed to go in the Lord’s peace.

Whether you’re looking specifically for liturgical services on weeknights in the city, or just interested to explore more traditional formats of church services, I would highly recommend St. John’s Healing Liturgy.  It happens on Wednesday nights at 6:15pm (224 Waverly PL near Perry St. and 7th Ave.).

Trinity Grace: Upper West Side

735 West End Ave at 96th St, 11 a.m.

I am a regular member of the Trinity Grace Chelsea congregation, which is a wonderful community of young people devoted to seeing Christ move in our lives.  I thought it would be interesting to explore another Trinity Grace service at a different location, and so I visited the Upper West Side location.

By comparison to the Chelsea location, the Upper West Side service was a more family-oriented community, and it’s worship band had a little more gospel/soulful flavor to its music.

The worship was dynamic and genuine and led by skilled musicians and singers.  It was evident that the members have succeeded in creating a loving, relational community.

One of the pastors commented on their fellowship by saying, “Our church does not seek to oppress and control, it seeks to release and empower.” John Tyson, the head pastor of Trinity Grace Church, preached a sermon very consistent with this vision, empowering the audience to demonstrate their love for Christ in their everyday lives and occupations.

The upper-west side service is held in a small school auditorium (Emily Dickinson School) at 735 West End Ave at 96th St, 11 a.m.

City Grace Church

219 Sullivan St, 11 a.m.

One of my favorite parts of exploring churches in New York City is seeing how a church’s neighborhood affects the personality of the church and the worship experience. With that in mind, I’ve been excited to start exploring more churches and weekday events in the West Village. There’s just something sentimental about walking to church down West 4th St. on a bright and crisp Sunday morning when the streets are quiet and the locals are walking their dogs down the sidewalk.

City Grace is a small congregation of young people who, in their own words, “share a common desire to learn more about Jesus Christ.” They, like many churches in the city, hold their service in a school auditorium. But even if you’re like me and aren’t used to this type of venue, you’ll quickly forget the fact that you’re in a school when you start to enjoy a small group of friends (maybe 40-50 people) who clearly love and care about each other.

While the worship was led by a contemporary style worship team, playing traditional and well-known songs and hymns that were easy to follow, the pastor gave a sermon based on a passage in 1 John 4, encouraging us to a life of radical love. To love, he said, is “to decrease that others might increase.” He encouraged us to understand Christ’s sacrificial love for us (demonstrated on the cross) and extend the same sacrificial love towards the people in our lives.

If you’re looking for a smaller, younger community in the West Village and this kind of message sounds interesting to you, I’d recommend checking out City Grace Church at 219 Sullivan St near West 3rd and Bleeker St, 11 a.m.

God is moving in New York City