Here in New York we attend a URCNA (United Reformed Church of North America) congregation that meets in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero, called Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship (MeRF for short).
MeRF started as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The thinking was that the best response would be to plant a church and preach the Gospel to those in the shadow of the fallen towers. In that way they could attempt, by God’s grace, to turn a tragic terrorist act into a triumph for the Gospel. They started with two people and have now grown to about 80 members. On our first Sunday there three whole families were baptised into membership! The congregation is very diverse — they come from all 5 boroughs of the city plus New Jersey, Long Island, & Westchester; people come from various strata economically; and they come from very different church backgrounds and most are first generation believers. We love the fact that it is racially diverse — it’s definitely not your traditional all-white Dutch-background Reformed church! So what holds such a diverse group of people together? To quote our pastor, Paul Murphy: “What unites us is a common love for Christ, the Reformed faith, and each other. We are almost all first generation Christians learning about the riches of God’s covenant.” The church even had a Christian school for 5 years and currently has a seminarian whom they hope will plant a second church.
We meet in the Seamen’s Church Institute building on Water Street.
You can have a look at the church website here.
To get there we first walk to the subway station.
Then we take the subway and walk the rest of the way to church. It really is very close to Ground Zero — the closest subway stop on our way home has recently been closed due to construction, so we walk to the next one which is right opposite Ground Zero.
After the morning service at 11am there is a shared lunch and time of fellowship until the afternoon service at 3pm. We love this aspect — because people come from all over, it’s often difficult to get together during the week to show hospitality (it still happens, though!), so this is a great time of visiting with people.
Here’s a pretty empty afternoon service.
Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse. If you come visit, you could meet them all! :-)