Two small evangelical churches serve more than 90,000 residents packed into New York City’s Bowery neighborhood.
Enter Dwell, a new Christian Reformed Home Missions-supported church that is striving to connect the Bowery to the mission of God.
Led by Pastor Pete Armstrong and his wife, Lily, this young church serves an urban community that is increasingly diverse, both economically and ethnically.
While the well-known Bowery Mission has served people in the area who are homeless for 133 years, it is just one block away from upscale restaurants and from apartments that sell for upwards of $1 million.
The sight of the poor living next to millionaires intrigues Armstrong, who says he feels called to minister to both. He was overjoyed that both groups were represented at the church’s Easter Sunday launch service, which attracted nearly 100 people.
“Worship included men from the Bowery Mission, along with families living in nearby penthouses,” he says. “The vision God gave to plant a church across barriers is coming true.”
>Pete and Lily had moved to New York from Seattle in 2010 so Pete could serve as associate pastor at City Grace Church, another Home Missions-supported church less than a mile from Dwell.
While at City Grace, Pete led an Alpha evangelism course and began feeling the call to plant a new church in the Bowery, where he and Lily lived. After starting with Sunday evening prayer and Bible study meetings, the Armstrongs developed a launch team and began looking for a physical worship space.
In early 2012, through a connection Pete made with a local theater manager, the new church called Dwell signed a lease to worship in the theater every Sunday. In addition to sharing the gospel with Bowery residents, the church is also increasing its partnership with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, a local community group.
In addition to Dwell and City Grace, Home Missions also supports Open Door Fellowship and New Song, two newer church plants in Manhattan’s historic Harlem neighborhood.