Hope Church Roosevelt Island (Hope RI) launched just over two years ago. Hope RI is led by myself, my wife Amanda, and a leadership team who all live on the Island. Started by a group of Island neighbors, Hope Church’s membership is made up of 35 different ethnicities and includes both Island pioneers and a growing group of young professionals who have moved here over the past three years.
Hope RI is a Christian church comprised of people from various contexts, cultures, and even creeds, asking questions about faith and how it intersects with their lives in New York City. Hope RI holds a core belief that starting new churches is one of the best ways to engage new people with an understanding and experience that there is a God who loves them. In addition, new churches often have the ability to innovate in ways that established churches cannot, especially when it comes to creating environments that allow people to learn about Christianity as they ask some of the weightier questions of life.
Though Hope RI is a part of a larger network of churches across the city (Hope Midtown, Hope Astoria, Hope Long Island, Hope East Queens, and Hope Brooklyn), it is committed to the social, cultural, and spiritual flourishing of Roosevelt Island. We understand that, while the Island’s community is more tightly knit than most, living in such a large and fast-paced city can still be very isolating. We know that many of our neighbors come and go, never having the opportunity to engage in the life and culture of the place we call home. We believe that God created us for authentic community and wants to move all of us from isolation into diverse communities where we can get to know one another and celebrate our diversity, experiencing encouragement, grace, and mercy, along the way.
Hope RI holds a central value that the church is not intended to be an institutional religious service that remains detached from the rest of life, but is instead meant to be a group of people learning to live like extended family, blessing others both inside and outside of that church community throughout the week. You can find Hope RI gatherings of 10-20 people meeting throughout the week in many Roosevelt Island buildings, where neighbors will come together to eat, learn the scripture, celebrate together, mourn together, and serve the neighborhood together.
Currently there are groups in the WIRE buildings [Westview, Island House, Rivercross, Eastwood which is now Roosevelt Landings], 10 River Road, 30 River Road, and the Octagon, and a new group will begin soon in Southtown. In addition, Hope RI has started a monthly gathering for international students who are new to the neighborhood and seeking a community as they begin a new life in a new city. All mid-week meeting details can be found online at hopericc.org.
Author Dorothy Sayers wrote, “How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?” Hope RI agrees, and holds a strong view that, when people are truly following the ways of Christianity, it spills into every area of life as they begin to work toward the common good of the city. Their faith should help the whole city flourish. For this reason, Hope attempts to educate, equip, and empower people to humbly live out their beliefs in a way that renews their vocational domains, whether in law, science, the arts, politics, or education. From teachings on faith and vocation, to hosting roundtables where those in finance or medical research talk about how to practically find a healthy and productive work-life balance, we acknowledge that our work matters to God, and the way we do it is of the utmost importance.
In addition, the people of Hope RI serve in various capacities throughout the neighborhood by hosting conversational English courses, racial reconciliation trainings, holiday meals for international students, and providing food and counsel for those in need. We also partner with organizations like Do For One to intentionally come alongside our neighbors living with disabilities.
Hope RI is also passionate about serving families and enabling them to build sustainable lives in order to not only survive living in the city, but to actually thrive in it. We feel honored to come alongside parents and guardians to help the next generation of the city understand the love we believe God has for them. In addition to age-appropriate programming for both toddlers and elementary students during our 4:30 p.m. service on Sundayks, Hope RI has recently launched Generation Hope, a middle school program. Every Sunday night from 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., middle school students gather with a team of young professionals and parent volunteers to play games, eat together, and talk about where faith and life as a student intersect. Hope RI believes the next generation has a ton to offer the community, and so one will regularly see students serving in various roles during Sunday services and events throughout the week.
We live within a culture that often attempts to define who we are by what we do, what we have, and what others may think of us. Every Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Hope RI gathers for 65 minutes of worshipful music, biblical teaching, sharing stories of hope, laughing with one another, and reminding each other about God’s love for us and our city.
The goal is to start our week strongly rooted in who we believe God is, who we are, and God’s calling upon our lives in New York City. Though the service is in English, much of the main content is translated into Chinese. We welcome you to join us at the Good Shepherd Center at 543 Main Street for any service.
To connect with Hope Church, join a mid-week community, or listen to a service online, go to hopericc.org.