A report from Pastor Jacob Simpson: The Park Church Co-Op has not rested in the twelve months I've been the pastor here, all of them occurring during the outbreak of COVID. We began outdoor worship in July 2020, first in McGolrick Park and eventually moving to the church steps. We found ways to safely host concerts outdoors. We figured out how to more effectively stream our Zoom worship and tweak things to be more inclusive. We hosted several outdoor events for families, including a Halloween Fest, a Mardi Gras celebration, and Easter Egg decorating. We're currently bringing back our summer concert series. We held weekly Wednesday night discussions for members and visitors outdoors. We've done a lot and I'm very proud of how PCC has adapted to this reality. Thanks be to God.
A report from Pastor Christian Scharen: Guided by the inspiration of the Spirit at work in our midst, St. Lydia's experimented with how to translate gatherings for Dinner Church and Waffle Church in a beautiful and meaningful way to a Zoom format through the depths of the pandemic. Meeting for prayer, song, Scripture, and Eucharist have been and are deeply sustaining for all who gather. We are now shifting to gatherings at our storefront church on Bond Street: using the indoor space and the garden for worship (see photo). The congregation grew, both in welcoming newcomers and in congregant giving through support of the congregation. This was a gift of the Spirit during this difficult year in New York City. The congregation also deepened engagement with neighborhood social justice efforts, partnering with Gowanus Mutual Aid, Faith in New York, and the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice. The GNCJ is in a tough, multi-year fight for an equitable process — especially for residents of NYCHA — in a major rezoning of the Gowanus neighborhood (see photo). Lastly, for the past six months, the congregation has been working with MNYS in a modified call process to discern the possibility of calling their interim pastor, Christian Scharen, to be the regular called pastor.
St. Lydia’s worships in their garden.
Members of St. Lydia’s join with neighborhood activists in support of better housing.
A report from Pastor Katrina Foster: St. John's Greenpoint received 8 new members during 2020 including a baptism on the beach at Far Rockaway, and we started a new ministry, the Online Content Ministry. Our Sunday Worship Services averaged over 1000 views. We also had mid-week Advent services for the first time, and had Lenten Mid-week testimonials centered on 2 questions: How did you come to St John’s, and what difference does being loved by Jesus make in your life?
Rev. Katrina Foster baptizes a new member at the beach.
A report from Pastor David Parsons: St. John-St. Matthew-Emanuel experienced an increase in attendance and offerings during the pandemic. We worshiped online, first on Facebook using a cell phone and ultimately developing a two-camera feed that streamed on both Zoom and Facebook. We worshiped outdoors in Prospect Park on Saturday mornings whenever the weather was dry and the temperature exceeded 40°F. Our Senior Center could not receive in person visits, but maintained weekly phone contact with members and delivered 300 meals per week. Additionally, the senior center received a grant to provide 100 food boxes with groceries for 4-5 meals, weekly. Thanks to Ashley, Our Little Free Pantry received donations of non-perishable food and toiletries daily from members of our congregation, and from the community. As of June 20, the senior center has reopened for daily meals and activities, and we have resumed in-person worship on Sunday mornings.