Rev. Peter Armstrong understands the need for synergy among city churches after serving three Christian Reformed churches in the Seattle Cluster (see Banner, November 2009, p. 12)
Clusters are a gathering of pastors and church planters located in a particular city who meet together on a regular basis for support, encouragement, learning, evaluation, and fellowship. Armstrong led worship at monthly gatherings and conducted leadership development in the Seattle Cluster.
Now Armstrong is taking that synergy across the country to New York City.
Armstrong had an in-depth conversation with a friend who moved to New York with nothing more than a backpack, a guitar, and a dream. “His tales of life in the city centered on the difficulty of connecting with God and others in a dense city. His description of eight million lonely people haunted me,” Armstrong said.
Six years after that conversation, Armstrong finally packed up and moved to the East Coast.
Now Armstrong serves as associate pastor of City Grace CRC in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, with a vision for planting a new faith community one mile away in the Little Italy neighborhood. Over 70,000 people live in the square mile encompassing Greenwich to Little Italy.
It is Armstrong’s desire to take the lessons he learned in Seattle and apply them to a New York Cluster.
Rev. John Algera, pastor of Madison Avenue CRC in Paterson, N.J., has been working with church planters in New York City for the past fifteen years. Algera helped launch the Manhattan cluster. “We have discovered that there is great value in clustering churches together to build synergy and momentum in ministry as well as to encourage one another,” says Algera.
“There is diversity within the church planters in New York and New Jersey,” said Armstrong, “I hope to be able to learn from them and encourage them as we plant churches in that influential corner of creation.”