What's worse than having to pretend for others? We prioritize being honest, open & real. We don’t pretend and we refuse to judge. Come as you are & be as you are. We ask this of you because we expect this of ourselves.
We welcome & celebrate everyone in our midst. We resist & reject the hierarchies that divide and prioritize gender, race, education level, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. We affirm the fullness of everyone's humanity.
We accept the call to do what we can with what we have. We commit to devoting our time & resources to subverting brokenness. We are accomplices in the fight for equity, we seek peace in the city & we advocate for the unheard.
We all know what it's like to feel alone, disconnected, isolated and burned out. Life can be hard, and it's not meant to be lived alone. As we commit to journeying together & sharing our stories with one another, we become family.
We celebrate the diversity of human thought, experience and story. We value mutuality & shared narratives. Leadership is flat, voices are heard and there's unity in our diversity. For creative life to flourish, we need each other.
Black & Brown lives matter. Queer & Trans lives matter. Immigrant & Undocumented lives matter. As the hands & feet of God, we stand with our neighbors & siblings. As stewards, we work to protect the earth and all who inhabit her. We are accomplices in the work that supports human flourishing, justice, liberation and love.
We are a community where everyone has a place at the table, because God makes room for us all. We limit no one's identity, participation or potential, because none of us are free until all of us are free:
We affirm all gender & sexual orientations, because God sees each of us in our fullness & has created room for us all. Regardless of where we are on the spectrum - queer, non-binary, asexual and straight alike: we’re all welcome here.
We advocate for equity & justice, because Jesus calls us one body. No matter skin color, ethnicity or citizenship status, we advocate for access & inclusion. We are allies to all migrants, people of color and all who are treated unfairly under racist and prejudice systems.
We embody generosity, because God is generous with us. We believe our worth & value in God's family has nothing to do with our wealth, earning potential, or possessions, or our capacity to spend in this economy. Rich, poor, indebted or debt-free: all can belong here.
We embrace diverse views, because God includes each of us in God’s divine family. We're all are on a spiritual journey filled with hope, certainty, mystery and doubt. Christian, non-Christian, seeker or other: each of us is trying to figure it out, we’re committed to doing it together, and God is present in our midst.
In response to the unyielding, reckless love God has for each and all of us, let us love & see one another as God loves & sees us!
Chris was born and raised in NJ, but moved around a lot as a kid. After studying Political Science & Business at Penn State, then moving to Venezuela, he returned to NYC to work in logistics & distribution. He began his faith journey in his late 20s at a conservative Evangelical church and was eventually hired on staff to plant a church. Realizing the limits of conservative Evangelicalism, but feeling called to full-time ministry, he & Jill moved to LA so he could complete a Masters in Divinity. There he completed his studies, got ordained in the PCUSA and accepted an invitation back to NYC to gather a progressive church for the next generation. His upbringing is one of contrasts: grew up financially insecure but in an affluent town; half-Venezuelan but white passing; raised by strong women but without a dad. This history has made him particularly sensitive to how power moves in our culture: racism, economic inequality, ableism, whiteness, etc. This history has also turned his heart towards the marginalized, left out and left behind. He's gathering CG to assure all have access to God's banquet table & all know they're part of God's family.
Jill was born and raised in NJ but after undergrad in NYC for Interior Design, she & Chris now call East Harlem home. Her favorite thing on Earth is her golden retriever mix (Lola), and when she's not hustling across the country growing her freelance designer business, she's on Randalls Island with Lola. Jill joined the leadership team to assure CG delivers on its promise to form a community that values all people, accepts everyone for who they are, and ultimately sees beauty in all things!
Born and raised in Michigan, Chris came to Colombia for undergrad and ended up sticking around! For the last 15 years he's called the city home, and he currently serves as Chief Investment Officer at a bank. CG knows Chris for his passion to include and his heart for discipleship. He joined leadership excited to plant grow a progressive church that centers itself in the Jesus tradition, finds unity in its diversity, and takes seriously its commitment to include others.
As a native of Puerto Rico, Jeanne recently moved to NYC to continue her career. She works on disaster legal aid and relief for a national nonprofit that uses technology to increase access to justice. She bounced around several Evangelical & non-denominational churches for two years, until she found CG. She's been with CG since the start, and still happily calls us home. Jeanne is excited to develop CG's vision of seeking equity, peace & justice locally.
Originally from California, Brian now calls NYC home. With his passion for leadership and a Masters in Management, Brian currently serves as GM of a luxury dog retreat in FiDi. He's also cares deeply about creating a healthy leadership culture at CG. An exile of conservative Christianity, Brian spent most of his adult life as a spiritual wanderer. Needless to say, he's helping CG create safe space for (alleged) outcast and asking more good questions rather than giving easy answers. He's excited to build a community that's relevant in the 21st century.
Andy is originally from Colorado but has been in NYC for most of his adult life. He's the founder of Grafted NYC, an organization for LGBTQ+ Christians in NYC, and he holds a certificate in Public Theology from Newbigin House of Studies. He's also currently studying church planting at PTS. He lives in Brooklyn with his fiance Joe and spends almost all his free time managing their dog’s Instagram account. Andy is excited to be an integral leader at CG, especially as he himself explores a potential call to plant a church in the near future.
Originally from NC, Sheldon moved to NYC to pursue an acting career. He's acted and performed in a number of capacities and, like most artists in NYC, he's become a jack of all trades in many careers: talent acquisition, social media management, marketing, advertising - he's done it all. He's also an influential voice in the queer Christian community, and a musician with a heart for creating contemplative, worshipful experiences for churches like CG. He's excited to be a part of a church that sees queer Christians as vital members of God's family.
When it comes to our affiliations, we value radical clarity. We believe it's critical we're crystal clear about who we are, who we are partnered with and who supports us. There are four primary partners we're in relationship with, and they're all doing fantastic work from their own angles - so we thought we'd let you know what they're up to. Here's a list of the networks we are connected with, and we hope you can get to know more about them.
1001 New Worshipping Communities is the church planting initiative of the PCUSA denomination. Part of the the goal for 1001 is to plant more LGBTQIA+ celebrating, justice-focused, Christ-rooted churches in America led by women, queer folx & people of color. 1001NWC has been a major supporter of Common Ground and regardless of our future affiliation, they've helped us tremendously with strategy, partnership & grants.
Church Clarity is a crowd-sourced database of Christian congregations - mostly for (allege) non-denom churches - scored by teams of volunteers based on how easy it is to find a church's Actively Enforced Policy online. It evaluates church websites for policies around leadership & participation that impact LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and women. Common Ground is both a partner & supporter of this work, because #clarityisreasonable.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination. Rooted in the Reformed tradition, the PCUSA is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, and is known for its relatively progressive positions on justice, gender, economy and race. The PCUSA is a financial supporter of Common Ground and our organizing pastor, Chris Romine, is an ordained minister in the denomination.
W/ is a collective of Christian faith leaders & community leaders united to support the manifold ministries of progressive Christianity. While many from W/ come from an Evangelical heritage, most have deconstructed, or are in the process of deconstructing and reconstructing their Christian faith. W/ is a growing space for relationship building, collaboration and critical thinking around matters race, gender and justice - and the ways each intersects faith.