“Small church offers change and hope for New York City’s people”
Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 4, 2010 12:06
NEW YORK CITY- In New York City in downtown Manhattan, a small new church is bringing a new comprehensive evangelistic approach to the streets.
Operating out of a small building situated only blocks away from Ground Zero, where construction is ongoing, the Messiah Reformed Church is working on building a foundation of its own.
Rev. Paul Murphy opened Messiah Reformed Church in 2003 after he decided that what New York City really needed after the attacks of 9/11 was a new Christian outreach.
Messiah Reformed Church is located at 241 Water Street where they rent space from Seamen's Church Institute, an institution founded in 1834 which cares for the personal, professional, and spiritual needs of mariners around the world.
Sam Perez is an assistant at Messiah Reformed Church, and has been here since right after the church began in 2003. He spoke to the WJI times about the church's beginning, and some of its goals.
"The central mission of our church…is to make Christ known to people around here," Perez said, "and everything kind of builds on that and supports that and is a scaffold to that."
The unique focus of Messiah Reformed Church is displayed strongest in the Wall Street Bible studies Rev. Murphy holds every Tuesday and Thursday.
Reverend Murphy focuses in these Bible studies on how doing business is a Godly activity, and how it can be conducted in a Christian manner.
These studies represent an unexpected focus for a church to focus on, since much of the Christian world views business as being too sinful, or secular, to guide with Biblical principles.
"We go through what the Bible has to say about business," Perez said, "Which speaks to the need of that (Wall Street) community in a world and a time where there's much doubt regarding economic things. It's good to know the Bible isn't silent about such matters."
Messiah Reformed Church is also involved in a few other outreach programs, including an ESL program and door-to-door evangelizing.
According to Perez the congregation maintains an average of about 65 regular attendants. The congregation is still relatively small, admitted Perez, because of what he refers to as "transiency".
Perez said that while they see many fresh faces every Sunday, and receive many new members each year, it is difficult to maintain a large regular congregation because many people are only in New York for a short amount of time.
Often individuals and families will join their congregation and remain active in the church for a few years, only to move away later because of a job opportunity or other life circumstances.
Still, Perez is confident that Messiah Reformed Church can have a powerful impact on the people of New York City.
He sees New York City and its people as having a unique and challenging character that he hasn't experienced in other cities. Planting a church, then, presents a unique opportunity for Christian evangelism.
Among the skyscrapers of Manhattan, Perez and Rev. Paul Murphy hope through their ministry to raise a towering Christian foundation that will help to change the face of business, and of the people of New York City.
More information about Messiah Reformed Church can be found at their website: www.merfnyc.org