New York City
On September 23, around 1,000 leaders representing the faith, business, and marketplace sectors—representing hundreds of churches, nonprofit organizations and local government initiatives from the five boroughs and additional outlying areas—came together to launch the initiative at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan.
Multiple speakers explained the twofold vision behind NY CityServe & CityFest: first to identify, develop, and nurture church-connected, neighborhood-focused collaborations throughout New York City, focusing on justice, mercy, and education; and second, to help churches saturate their neighborhoods with the Good News of Jesus Christ through regional outreaches and evangelistic gatherings, culminating in a multi-cultural evangelistic outreach with Luis Palau in the summer of 2015.
The launch included presentations from Rev. A.R. Bernard, Christian Cultural Center; Bishop Hector Bonano, CONLICO; Kittim Silva Bermudez, Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Queens; Robert Guerrero, Redeemer City to City; Mac Pier, New York City Leadership Center; Rev. Que English, New York City Clergy Roundtable; Rev. Gabriel Salguero, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Jim Cymbala, Brooklyn Tabernacle Church; Floyd Flake, Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral; and Kevin Palau, Luis Palau Association. Grammy award-winning artist Bishop Hezekiah Walker also performed.
“We want to emphasize these two things: celebrate, and accelerate,” Kevin Palau said of NY CityServe & CityFest. “We know that the Church is always serving. It’s embedded into every neighborhood in the community serving… but so often, we don’t know what the church down the street is doing. We’re doing it in our own silos, so one of the goals of NY CityServe is to celebrate those stories.”
International evangelist Luis Palau also encouraged the audience to “dream great dreams, pray great prayers, and do the work of evangelism” in a stirring message as he shared his nearly lifelong dream of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ with all of New York City.
Several in attendance took to social media to share their enthusiasm for the launch of the initiative. “I experienced a piece of God’s Kingdom today as NY CityServe kicked off with the diverse leadership and unity of New York pastors,” Logan Gentry, pastor at Apostles Church in Manhattan, said on Twitter. Jim Bushoven, community development pastor in New Jersey, shared a similar sentiment: “Witnessing the birth of a movement. Thank you leaders of Christ.”