Who are we?
Emmanuel Church is a community of believers, centered in the Morningside Heights area of New York. We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America who warmly welcome people from all church backgrounds and none. Committed to the historic Christian faith as summarized in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and rekindled by the Protestant Reformation, we are also committed to articulating that faith contextually. We call ourselves “Emmanuel” (“God with us”) because we believe that Jesus has brought God near to us. God’s nearness brings life to all that we do—to our worship, our friendships, our families, our thought life, our studies, and our work. We embrace Emmanuel’s love for the city and seek to share his beauty, truth, and goodness with the diverse communities where we live and work.
Why are we here?
- To know Emmanuel and to advance his peace in our community.
- To know Emmanuel is both to know about him and to experience him. We therefore seek continually to be renewed in our faith.
- To know Emmanuel is to glorify and enjoy God through his Son by the power of his Holy Spirit (who indwells us, changing our hearts, showing us the Father’s love, and making Jesus the Lord we love to follow). We seek therefore to see the relevance of Jesus Christ and his gospel to every issue in our lives and our world, and we pray continually for the Holy Spirit to fill our efforts to keep Christ central.
- Emmanuel’s peace, the full expression of which awaits his return, is God’s wholeness and peace, his promised renewal and transformation of all things–in nature, in human nature, in human relationships, and in human work.
- Our geographical community is Morningside Heights and the areas immediately surrounding it, particularly West Harlem, Manhattan Valley, and Harlem Heights, extending to the northern reaches of Manhattan.
- Our personal community is that group of people near whom we live and with whom we work and study.
Our Core Values
What are we passionate about?
- Vitality through knowing Jesus Christ: We seek much more than Christian information: we seek to see and know Jesus as he reveals God to us in the gospel, for to see him is to experience continual renewal in our lives and ministries. We know Jesus better through regular and intentional participation in the means of grace—fellowship, Bible study, prayer, the sacraments, and a missional life. Worship, public and private is very important to us.
- Community life: We strongly believe that significant growth happens only in the context of safe, honest and caring friendships. For this reason we provide small group and one-on-one mentoring relationships.
- Holistic ministry: We look to see the influence of Jesus’ transforming lordship in all things and in the whole of our lives. Teaching the Bible and showing love in practical ways are of equal importance—as are evangelism and academics, prayer and social justice, doctrinal orthodoxy and beautiful music, strong relationships and responsible care for the environment. How we think at and about work and school is as important as how we think at and about church.
- Incarnational living: We seek to emulate Jesus’ modus operandi in our pattern of life and ministry: As Jesus, lovingly committed to our healing, fully entered our experience while remaining faithful to his Father, so we seek, lovingly committed to our world’s healing, to enter genuinely and faithfully into the communities and workplaces where God has placed us, while also seeking to be faithful to Christ in those places. Such engagement meant suffering for Jesus, and we should not be surprised or disheartened if it means suffering for us.
- City loving Attitude: We choose to love NYC—its people and its institutions. We choose neither to stand aloof from the city nor to be swallowed up by its values where they are fallen. Instead we choose to be its friends—to feel its pains, to enjoy its glories, to pray for its peace, and to subvert it to the King by sacrificial love. We exist not to make ourselves a great church but to make New York a great city.
- Local focus: We see ourselves as a local church, existing to enhance Jesus’ loving reign in our part of town, especially at the university and among the local poor. We are not just in this part of town, nor are we all from here; but we are for this area. Over time we would rejoice to know that the neighborhood in and around Morningside Heights, including West Harlem, Harlem Heights, and Manhattan Valley, is a better place–a kinder place, a more just place–more reflective of God’s plan, because we have been here.
- Church planting: We believe that church planting is our Lord’s preferred means of seeing his kingdom expand. We ourselves are a church plant and we seek to plant other urban churches, especially in New York.
- Prayer for the victory and honor of God over all things and all people: We believe that God is at work through the gospel to overthrow the deeply imbedded antipathy towards him that exists in every person, every activity, and every institution in this world—including the church. We further believe that God alone can win this battle, and therefore we pray for his hand to be in everything we undertake.
Our Ministry Focus
Whom are we aiming particularly to serve?
In our efforts to serve the community where God has placed us we note especially the importance of ministry to Columbia University (and the other local academic institutions) and the local poor.