Staff Spotlight: Meet Brian, Our Director of Generosity and Strategic Partnerships
This fall, Brian joined our team as the new Director of Generosity and Strategic Partnerships!
You may recognize Brian from his pastoral role at Exilic Church, one of HFNY's church partners that joined our network in 2019.
In his new role, Brian will focus on connecting with, cultivating, and stewarding donor relationships, plus current and new church partnerships. Read about Brian's favorite place in NYC, plus how growing up in the Bronx helped him lean into the mercy and justice space.
What do you love most about New York City? Any favorite places or neighborhoods?
I love that NYC is a mosaic of different colors, sounds, cultures, and ideas. It’s a big city, but if you give it a chance, you’re bound to call one of its enclaves home. For me, one of my favorite spots in Manhattan is Bryant Park because I have fond memories of taking my daughter, Evelyn, for stroller rides there when she was a baby. The lawn is great for basking, the chairs good for reading and thinking, and the seasonal events are fun, too!
Describe a time when volunteering changed your faith outlook and your desire to support neighbors in need. Is there a community connected to your heart?
As a kid growing up in the Bronx, my parents and I actively served in soup kitchens throughout the New York metro area. At the time, I saw the experience as opportunities to give what I had to those who are less fortunate. But the big spiritual shift for me came many years later in college, when I heard afresh the teaching that Jesus came to bless the poor, but that the poor person he was referring to was me!
When those dots connected, the smugness of moral superiority quickly dissipated to a soul-wrenching confession of sin against God and neighbor, which eventually grew into a commitment to serve those in need with more humble compassion. As far as communities my heart goes out to, widows and orphans strike a deep chord in me as communities that need lots of our support and advocacy. And given my experience growing up in an immigrant family, my heart also goes out to immigrant populations.
Are there any books or movies you would recommend that impacted your outlook on mercy and justice?
In the introduction to Diane Langberg’s Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church, she vividly writes,
“I have listened to voices from Auschwitz, Rwanda, South Africa, Congo, and Cambodia while visiting death camps, churches full of bones, places of unspeakable poverty, victims of violent rape, and the Killing Fields, where human beings were destroyed just because they were who God created them to be.
"I have also seen beauty, redemption, courage, and generosity, and I have been blessed beyond words by many who have been trashed by this world and its inhabitants.”
Langberg helps me to understand this duality in the work of mercy and justice—though there are languishing sorrows in the night, there is an unfading joy that will come in the morning. And joy will be sung by God’s redeemed, many of whom I pray were those “trashed” in a former age but who are now without limit to sing songs of adoration to their Redeemer. This gives me hope and motivation in our work of mercy and justice.