|Photo courtesy of Kristen Whalen|
Its taken a week for me to write this post. Between getting ready for the TGC Washington Heights launch and being sick, I just haven't been able to finish it... But its a post I have been excited to write and finish!....
Surprisingly enough, I haven't talked too much about my church or community. I find that funny since its probably the most important thing to me in this city. I go to Trinity Grace Church, formerly Origins Church, which started 6 years ago next month. TGC is a church planting church, meaning its desire is to plant churches in the heart of communities & cities. Since its start, TGC has started at least 5 new churches/parishes: Origins Church (Now TGC Westside), TGC Chelsea, TGC Upper East Side, TGC Brooklyn (2 services), TGC East Village, and now TGC Washington Heights.
I have been a part of TGC Westside for the last 2-3 years and have been a part of a "Missional Community" in Washington Heights since then. The leaders of that group had been friends from my old church, Mosaic, and are now serving and working for TGC. They moved to the city 10 years ago to plant a church in Washington Heights, but God had different plans leading them eventually to TGC where they were mentored, spiritually nourished, and supported so that in God's timing they could plant a church in the city, in the community that loved so much.
Video Courtesy of Rickey Kraemer
Today, TGC Washington Heights launches its first official service. It goes from a missional community to a full fledged church. In many respects we've always been a church. Biblically, I think we've been a church for years, but now we will have weekend services.
I am so excited about today and going forward. I'm excited about this next step that we are taking and what this will mean for our community.
Pray for us as we continue to take steps forward as a church. Pray for the leadership as we maneuver around the logistics of being a church. Pray for wisdom as we continue to reach out to the community we love so much, as we walk with the Lord to determine it's needs.
Today, at 5pm, we will open the doors of our "church" and worship as a "church".
Some facts about Washington Heights:
Population: 228,000 (roughly the population size of Richmond, VA in a significantly smaller area)
- 74.1% Hispanic
- 13.6% White (non-Hispanic)
- 8.4% Black (non-Hispanic)
- 2.1% Asian
- 29% living below the poverty level
More than half of Inwood and Washington Heights residents were born outside the U.S.
- Inwood & Washington Heights 51%
- Manhattan 29%
- NYC 36%
Key health issues in Inwood and Washington Heights include:
- Inwood and Washington Heights residents are less likely to have a regular health care provider than those in NYC overall, and foreign-born adults and men are least likely to have a regular doctor.
- The birth rate to teenage mothers is higher in Inwood and Washington Heights than in Manhattan and NYC overall.
Risk of Robbery and Murder are considerable above the national average in Washington Heights