1st Year Successes

Bronx Church without Walls

First Year Achievements

May 2018 Marks One Year of the “Bronx Church without Walls.”

 

We have been blessed with being one of the most successful Urban Regional Congregational Ministries in the Diocese and the Episcopal Church in the country.  We wish to share with others the “Good News” of our Ministry.

 

Attendance

The attendance has increased some 30% over the year before.  While in the past a Sunday with 70 or more in attendance a year ago was exciting, now Sundays 90 or above are happening more frequently.

  • Easter Sunday attendance increased over 50% to 182, from Easter 2017.
  • Good Friday attendance increased from under 12 to 62.
  • Stewardship – Treasure

Pledging increased by 35% over 2017, raising about $30,000 more.

  • Participation – Inter-Church

The number of members serving on committees, Inter-Church commissions and councils has increased to 15 from 6.

 

Music

  • The adult choirs have grown from 6 to 14.
  • A new youth choir from all the congregations has been organized and has some  9 members.
  • We have increased the range of the music from just 1982 Hymnal and Lift Every Voice and Sing and added more Spanish and Gospel Musical Anthems.
  • The English and the Latin (Spanish) choirs have learned music from the different cultures so to begin a process of multi-cultural Ministry and Bilingual Services.

 

Bible Study

There were no regularly scheduled Bible Studies at any of the congregations, now there is a combined Bible Study held each week with occasional additional studies at different locations.  We are presently working on a plan for a Mid-Week Morning Bible Study.

 

Kids Church (Sunday School)

There were no regularly held Sunday Schools at any of the congregations.  There is now a weekly Kid’s Church at the St. David’s location and the BxCWW is in the process of opening a second location at San Juan Bautista.  Presently there are 8 young people attending and a second class is in the planning.

 

Saturday Youth Programs

  • Youth Group Workshops – Youth of all ages meet twice a month on Saturdays, when there is choir rehearsal, for various training workshops in computer, graphics, creating videos, photography, Live Streaming, baking, Social Media Marketing, Event Planning, games and a Youth Choir rehearsal.  Young people are welcome to attend whichever workshop modules they wish to be a part of.  The four-hour program is often followed by the older young people going out into the community to distribute flyers and invite people to visit the congregational worship services and programs.
  • Trip Program – One Saturday a month the children are offered a trip to a local event or place of interest or event.  A couple of times a year a major out of the area trip is taken. Parents and other adults assist with the teenagers providing counselor positions.  This program includes a major effort to seek out children in the South Bronx who would not normally have the opportunity that these trips offer.

 

Youth Sundays – On a monthly basis the youth participate in worship, reading the lessons and assisting in Sunday Worship.  A few times a year a combined Sunday Service is held where the youth fully participate in the Worship Service in all the roles set aside for laity.  The Youth Choir also sings on those Sundays.

 

Mass under the Tent

Five weeks last summer the BxCWW and St. Simenon’s Church held Summer Worship Services at St. Simeon’s Triangle, the past and future home of St. Simeon’s Church.  Over 300 attended services there and were fed a great lunch each week.  This summer we will have “Masses under the Tents” with three services each Sunday, one in Spanish.  We will use two or three locations.

 

Combined Worship Services

  • Worship & Picnic – Over the past year we started off last June with a massive picnic and Worship Service at a state park. Some 90-people participated and there was food for all, it was a great coming together experience.
  • Summer Sundays Combined (2) – Last summer we held two combined “Masses under the Tent” at St. Simeon’s Triangle.  The Church without Walls Choir sang and at our Celebration of New Ministry all experienced a Steel Band and African Drumming along with the Choir.  We plan on having at least two Worship Services this summer together.
  • Christmas Eve & New Year’s – On both of these feasts all three congregations come together for Worship Service, Christmas Eve at 8:00 pm and New Year’s at 11:00 p.m.  On New Year’s Eve the Service was followed by at Pot Luck Party. In 2016 only about 10 attended both Services combined, this year some 70 attended.
  • Epiphany – A Combined Service is held on the Sunday after Epiphany.  This year in the freezing cold a large group of members came, and a reception followed.
  • Lenten Services – The Bronx Church without Walls was the major sponsor of the South Bronx IPC Lenten Services.  These were well attended and sponsored by a different congregation each week.
  • Palm Sunday – A procession though the streets followed the Blessing of the Palms, followed by the Worship Service.
  • Holy Week – Combined services were held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  This year a new tradition was started, the young people conducted a Bilingual Service of Stations of the Cross.  Each young person read at a station in the language they were most comfortable.  Our Good Friday attendance matched our total Sunday Service average attendance of May 2017.
  • Easter Day – On Easter Sunday, St. David’s and St. Simeon’s combined for Easter Service. The combined choirs of each church sang together.  At Iglesia San Juan Bautista a Festival Service was held.  Both services were followed by a Great Easter Egg Hunt.

 

Combined Worship Services in the Planning

  • Pentecost Sunday – a Worship Service with Baptism will be celebrated jointly to mark the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, and the one Year Celebration of the beginning of Bronx Church without Walls.  The combined Choirs will sing along with the Youth Choir presenting an Anthem.
  • Youth Sunday – On June 3 the Youth of the BxCWW will take many of the roles for the laity and participate in the Worship.  A guest preacher will be invited that Sunday.  The Youth Choir will perform the Anthems.

 

Leadership

    • Joint Event & Fund-Raising Committee – In the beginning of the BxCWW the Wardens of the congregations provided the coordination and implementation of all events.  In order to spread the leadership to more of the members, a Joint Committee was formed consisting of 3 members of each congregation who are not wardens.  This committee plans and implements events and organizes and implements joint fund raisers.

 

  • In the Planning – the Women of Wisdom

We are in the beginning stages of planning a mid-week Senior Program of Worship, Bible Study, Fellowship, Lunch and Hobbies (Crocheting, Gardening and Games) for Seniors.

Community Ministry

  • In addition to South Bronx Churches where we work ecumenically on Housing, Health and Safety, we sponsor a Senior Program and Prison Ministry.  Some other community events include:

Block Parties, Children’s Halloween and Christmas Parties and a Community Thanksgiving Dinner.   These events are sponsored by St. David’s, but now are fully supported by all the congregations of the BxCWW.

 

  • In the Planning – The Urban Cultural Arts & Justice Ministry

To begin phasing in this spring, the Ministry will include Vocal, Steel Band and Latin/African Drumming along with Dance and Art.  A program of Spoken and Written Word will be organized along with forums on Art in the role of Community, Spirituality and Giving Back.

 

The Episcopal / Anglican Church Really Welcomes All, A Place to Belong for All People

The Bronx Church without Walls is a Regional Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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