How Serving Deepened My Pastoral Connection to New York City
Chuck Armstrong joined the Redeemer Lincoln Square team as their Pastoral Resident in 2016 and was ordained in 2018 to become their Assistant Pastor. On Wednesday, July 1, Chuck will be planting a new church in Hell's Kitchen, called the Hell's Kitchen Community Church. Throughout his years in New York City and at Redeemer, Chuck has been involved in the mercy and justice ministry work through Hope for New York. He has also written pastoral words for us and joined us on Instagram Live about how to lament. We asked Chuck to reflect on his time serving with Hope for New York.
My wife, Celine, and I first served our city through Hope for New York eight years ago, when we volunteered with All Angels’ Church with our Community Group. Together, we committed to serving with All Angels’ on Sunday evenings once a month. This was an incredible experience for us to not only serve the Upper West Side neighborhood but also come together as a community. In 2014, we both also rode in the Charity Bike Ride, and Celine has served on the Community Grants Circle committee in the past. We both look back on that time with a lot of gratitude and fondness.
Chuck and Celine at the Charity Bike Ride
Personally, my involvement with HFNY has been really amplified through my connection to The Bowery Mission as an assistant pastor with Redeemer Lincoln Square; the Bowery is an affiliate that I have the utmost respect and admiration for. I’ve preached twice a month at the main location’s chapel service for the past two years, though that stopped during COVID-19. I’ve had the distinct honor of sharing a devotional with The Bowery staff, and have gotten to know many staff members like Jason Storbakken and Karl Chan, whom I now get to call friends. I even got to serve at The Bowery with the Redeemer Lincoln Square staff, which is one of my favorite memories at Redeemer.
Chuck serving at The Bowery Mission
Through my involvement with LSQ, I've gotten to know so many amazing saints that work with HFNY. Though there is not enough space to list every single person—you can just look at the staff page for a glimpse—I am so grateful for the lifelong friendship and mentoring of Peter Ong (HFNY's previous Director of Church Partnerships. And beyond the staff, I've also gotten to know a handful of affiliates, like The Open Door (I love Luis!!), Open Hands Legal Services (we supported them in 2018 by donating proceeds from ticket sales for a mass incarceration event), and Prison Fellowship (I actually had the humbling privilege of attending a graduation ceremony on Rikers Island with Sharon Baldessari [HFNY's previous Manager of Mobilization]!). The most lasting connection, besides The Bowery, will no doubt be with St. Paul’s House. I’ve gotten to share a word there for one of their gospel services, and I’ve gotten to know Shandra and others on staff.
As I and others plant a new church—Hell’s Kitchen Community Church (HKCC)——one of my biggest prayers is that we will come alongside St. Paul’s House to learn from and serve them. When I think of Hell’s Kitchen and Kingdom work in our neighborhood, there is no one who stands out more as a faithful staple in the community than St. Paul’s. To be honest, I can’t imagine planting a church in Hell’s Kitchen without linking arms with them.
At HKCC, mercy and justice will be a big focus of ours as we seek to serve the neighborhood in faithful and tangible ways. This Wednesday night (July 1), HKCC will have its first Vision Night via Zoom, where you can learn more about the church’s vision, mission, and core values, as well as ask any questions you might have. Feel free to email me for details (email@example.com). As I look ahead to serving New York City through this new church, I am grateful for the many ways Hope For New York has shaped my ministry and commitment to bringing glimpses of God’s shalom to my neighbors. I’m expectant and hopeful for all that God will do in the months and years to come!
Thank you, Chuck, for faithfully and wonderfully serving our city through these years! Please join us in praying for Chuck's next steps leading and planting Hell's Kitchen Community Church!