Steve Wolma and Peter Armstrong
Ground Zero New York City
Saturday, Miriam and I had lunch with Steve Wolma of City Grace Church and Peter Armstrong of Dwell NYC. These churches are a part of the Christian Reformed Church. Spanish River is partnering to plant these churches in NYC. City Grace has been worshipping for about 4 years and is averaging 100 in attendance, while Dwell NY will start with core group that will begin meeting tonight in a home. They are expecting about 30 people to show up at the Armstrong home this evening.
Steve and his family live in the Battery Park area of the city, while their church meets in the Greenwich village area. They are currently meeting in a facility owned by the Children’s Aid Society, but will be looking for a new location soon. They have outgrown this building, and need your prayers to help locate a new spot for worship. City Grace has a great outreach to college students and has a lot of young families.
After lunch with Peter and Steve, we walked around the area surrounding “Ground Zero.”
There were so many people gathered there to remember the awful events that took place ten years ago. Please keep all the churches in your prayers as they serve this community and preach the Gospel.
In the evening we met up with Sam Rine and Gary Lewis (good friends from Boca Raton and members of Spanish River Church) who were in town for the Yankee/Red Sox game. We enjoyed a great meal at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant and then crashed into a food coma.
It is has been a very busy visit to New York and we still have one more day. We arrived on Thursday evening and we were able to go see “Jersey Boys” that night. It was a great show, I found myself wanting to sing along, but Miriam kept me in check.
Guy Wasko and Caleb Clardy
On Friday we spent some time with Guy Wasko of Trinity Grace East Village and Caleb Clardy of Trinity Grace Brooklyn. Spanish River has been able to partner with both of these churches the last few years.
Trinity Grace is actually a network of New York City churches that is planting what they call a parish model of churches. Each church has their own Pastor and small staff, but they work together on certain ministries.
One of the events that they worked on happend on Friday evening, it was called Citywide Worship and brought together all the Trinity Grace Churches as well as 4 other churches in the city. These churches gathered together to hold a huge praise and worship service that was attended by hundreds. Their purpose was to praise God and pray for their city. It was a great evening.
Please keep the pastors of Trinity Grace Church in your prayers. The challenges of doing ministry in this city can be overwhelming. But, the opportunities are endless. Trinity Grace now has seven neighborhood churches and plans to launch more in the future. Spanish River Church has a great partner in New York City, and looks forward to being a part of this movement in the future.
It was a nice drive up the east coast of Maryland, and then into New Jersey on Wednesday. On Thursday we drove into Newark, New Jersey and spent most of the day with Renato and Claudia Bernardes. Renato is the senior pastor of Christ Community Presbyterian Church, which is a PCA church that holds services in three languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Renato and Claudia Bernardes
Renato has served as the senior pastor of CCP since 1994, since that time they have seen some incredible growth. The church is located in a neighborhood known as “Ironbound” Which is mostly an hispanic community. They also have an outreach to the children that live in a nearby impoverished neighborhood. Their Wednesday night children’s program is full of children living well below the poverty line, who are bused in and have an opportunity to hear about the love of Christ as well as have a healthy meal.
Renato has been actively involved in the PCA’s efforts in planting more Brazilian Churches. He was very involved in helping with the West Boca Brazilian church led by Ederson Emerick. SRC was a major contributor in this church plant.
The building that CCP occupies is a well used facility. The church has a day care operating out of the building as well as church activities and three weekend services. CCP has plans to add a second floor to this facility which will include space for a gym and more classroom space for the children.
Newark is a city that is home to five large universities, and many of the students serve at CCP. It is Renato’s prayer that CCP can have a greater outreach to these students as well as have a church that ministers to the entire multi-ethnic community. Please keep Renato and Claudia in your prayers as they serve at Christ Community Presbyterian and minister to their community.
Ron and Jason Roberts
Jason Roberts and Family
CrossCurrent Church was planted about nine years ago by Jason Roberts, Jason spent some time as an intern at Spanish River Church and was called to plant this church while serving at SRC.
Crosscurrent has experienced some incredible growth and they are now ready to launch their second worship service. Virginia Beach is home to several military bases and the church ministers to many of these families.
Jason and Aimee are parents to five children. Aimee is a busy mom, she home schools one of their children, and works as a birth coach for new Moms.
Crosscurrent has been involved in planting other churches right from their start. They give 10% of their general contributions to planting churches. Jason also coaches church planters through his work in Acts 29 church planting network. Their international work involves planting churches in England and helping to coach those pastors as well.
Crosscurrent shares a facility with two other churches. One of those churches is led by another former SRC staff member, Doug Haupt. It is great to see these three churches working together to reach their community.
Please keep Jason and Aimee in your prayers as they deal with a growing church, and the decision on when to launch a new site in the Virginia Beach area. Jason is an amazing leader and has a real heart for seeing the Gospel preached in his community.
Miriam and I arrived in Virginia Beach and met up with Doug and Sarah Haupt for dinner. We were able to stop by their home and visit with the Greta, Emma and Hayden, it was great seeing how the kids have grown into wonderful teenagers. It seems like just yesterday that our daughter Hannah was their babysitter. Doug served at Spanish River Church for many years, and had an incredible ministry that touched the lives of many.
Doug Haupt and Family
Doug is busy leading Grace Family Fellowship as their Pastor. Grace Family began as home church a few years ago, they pretty quickly outgrew the home and now share space with two other churches in Virginia Beach. Doug’s other job is working at a local Christian school as their athletic director. This is a brand new position for Doug, which I am sure he will find challenging and yet rewarding.
It was wonderful spending time with Doug and Sarah, we have really missed Doug’s sense of humor, and Sarah is an amazing wife and mother. Please keep them in your prayers as they face challenges with a growing church and a new job.