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The God Squad takes Manhattan

The front page feature for this Sunday’s Metropolitan section of The New York Times is about how it is becoming more and more common to be both a New York City hipster and a Christian these days. That, in fact, young evangelicals see New York City as the place to worship, and as a result, cool Christian communities are popping up all over the place, including in the Village. Apparently, they say special prayers for Mayor Bloomberg, too.

In “The Evangelical Squad,” John Leland writes of the vibe of one in particular–Trinity Grace Church:

“In a vast, unheated room overlooking Cooper Square in the East Village, Guy Wasko tried to shake off the start-up jitters. . . The music was a big question mark: was it the right flavor for the neighborhood, funky enough, soulful enough? What about his hospitality team? The members had to be trained, the signs had to be right, the branding had to pop. Mr. Wasko, 33, who has spiky brown hair and eight-gauge steel posts in both ears, hunched his shoulders inside his dark wool coat. He had left a large, well-financed organization in Pittsburgh to take on this challenge: starting an evangelical Christian church in the East Village, a neighborhood perceived by many as libertine.”

One of Leland’s interviewees comments that “the city has become “like a Silicon Valley of church-planting””, and Leland writes that “newcomers have created networks to pay for new churches and to form church-planting incubators, treating the city as a mission field.”

Perhaps soon one of their pastors will grace the cover of Time Magazine like Rob Bell recently did, on behalf of his recent, mega-bestselling “Love Wins.”

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