Sunday, September 15, 2013

Church in New York City

There are several modern myths that are promoted by the media and believed by many
-young people have abandoned the church
-you can't be a Christian and an intellectual
-large cities are bastions of secularism
-traditional Christian doctrines and liturgies are out of date and need to modernise
-mainline Protestant denominations are dying

Last sunday I had an experience that provides some counter examples against all these. I was invited to attend the morning worship service at All Angels Episcopal Church in New York City. It is located on the Upper West Side.

The traditional liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer was combined with classic church music and hymns, contemporary worship songs, and two rousing Gospel [African-American] numbers. The room was packed with maybe 200 people, ranging from young families to the elderly. The multi-ethnic diversity reflected that of NYC. About twenty of the people there were faculty at universities. About thirty were graduate students, many at Columbia and New York University. There was also an announcement about the forthcoming city-wide campaign, The Price of Life, against human trafficking.

Afterwards I had lunch with a group of graduate students from NYU and two staff from the  Graduate and Faculty Ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We had an interesting discussion about the challenges of being a Christian and a graduate student, reminding me what a "pressure cooker" US graduate schools can be.

1 comment:

  1. We visited Redeemer Presbyterian (their new-ish Southside congregation) when we were in NYC. It was full of young people. It was a very simple service, with an acoustic 4-piece band, some old hymns, some new. Tim Keller spoke. It was anything but old and tired.