Monday, August 22, 2005

Redeemer Presbyterian Church

My wife and I celebrated our 22 wedding anniversary this month by visiting the Big Apple. We stayed at a hotel in the Wall Street district. One of our highlights was visiting Redeemer Presbyterian Church. We took the subway up town to the corner of 64th and Central Park Avenue, on the West Side. The church meets in several locations, this one was a building belonging to an ethical society. It had traditional pew set up for the worship. The service seemed to be run by lay people for the most part with the sermon being delivered by one of the pastoral staff, Rev. David Bisgrove. The service did not seem to be overly liturgical, but leaned toward liturgical and less contemporary. My wife and I expected the music to be good and it was, but what impressed us was the authentic flavor of the music though classical in style.
Something different in this PCA church was the level of women in leadership. They gave the prayer, they read the scripture and took up the offering. Every church had deaconesses.
The sermon was excellent. Rev. Bisgrove gave many examples from popular print media and his own life to illustrate his points. His message, while tuned to an educated audience, sought to appeal to the emotions of the individuals.
New Yorkers have a strong sense of identity with “the city”. Prayers reflected this sense of corporate life as did other aspects of the church. As I mentioned, Redeemer has multiple services spread though out the city, and in order to reach this massive metropolitan area, they must not be confined to one neighborhood. The “church” has many congregations, but one ruling body of elders. They have separate deaconates for each congregation. At the congregation that I visited, the church was multiracial. That reflected “the city” but people seemed to all be from the middle class. Perhaps that reflects the neighborhood where the congregation meets.
If you are traveling or living in NY, I highly recommend attending Redeemer.
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