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're creating an alternative economy - one that looks for new ways of sharing & resourcing one another than a capitalist mindset. We firmly reject the myth of scarcity. True togetherness starts and ends with generous abundance.
This is a big city and we all know what it's like to feel disconnected, isolated and burned out. Life can be hard, and it's not meant to be lived alone. As we commit to journeying together, we become one family.
We are democratic & de-centered. We celebrate diversity of experience & story. Leadership is flat and the table is round, because we believe true community is found in unity through diversity. For creative life to flourish among us, we need each other and we're better together.
We are anti-racist. BIPOC lives matter. We are open & affirming. Queer & Trans lives matter. This Earth & all lives that depend on her matter. As fellow siblings, we're accomplices in work toward human flourishing & love. As the stewards of creation, we honor, protect and sustain the lands we inhabit.
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 Celebrate Queerness, because God sees each of us in our fullness & there's room for us all. Whatever our pronouns and wherever we are on that spectrum - queer, non-binary, asexual & straight alike - God celebrates you, so we do too. We all belong.
We demand LIbERATION, because none are free until all are free. We're anti-racist & work to dismantle systems of prejudice & exclusion. No one's citizenship is denied or delayed in God's kin-dom, so we insist on the same access here. All deserve full inclusion & freedom.
We embody generosity, because God is first generous with us. Regardless of our wealth, debt, earning potential or capacity to spend in this immoral economy - it says nothing of our infinite worth & value in God's family. Rich, poor, indebted and debt-free: all belong here.
We embrace diverse views, because each of us bear God's image & seek connection to the divine. Beyond labels - we're all on spiritual journeys filled with hope, uncertainty, mystery and doubt. Zealot, skeptic or seeker: each of us is trying our best, we’re committed to journeying together, and God is present with us all.
In response to the unyielding, unending love of God, let us love & see one another as God loves & sees us!
Chris is a Latinx, cis-het male born & raised outside NYC. Following undergrad, Chris lived in Venezuela for some time before returning to NYC for work. His faith journey began as an adult in NYC when, curious about faith, he wandered into a local Evangelical church, and ended up sticking around. A few years later, while working for that church, his faith collapsed when he uncovered their hidden stances on race, queerness & non-male leadership. Rejecting Christian fundamentalism but feeling pulled to ministry, he & Jill moved to LA so he could attain a MDiv & pursue ordination in the PCUSA. After grad school he accepted an invitation to organize a new church in NYC - which is now Common Ground. His identity & upbringing is one of contrasts: raised by women and without a father; Latinx with black & indigenous blood, but white passing; raised income insecure but around affluence. This mixed history has shaped him into seeing the ways inequity (sexism, racism, heteronormativity, classism, ableism, etc) shapes culture. His heart's for the marginalized, left out & left behind, and he's gathering CG so all know they have a seat at God's table.
Besides serving as a Co-Pastor & Worship Arts Leader at Common Ground, Chantilly Mers-Pickett is a jack of all trades. She’s an ordained minister, musician, artist and faith educator. For the last ten years, her ministry has focused on the inherent intersectionality of education, liturgy & social justice. Among other things, she helps lead anti-racist trainings, equity trainings & anti-oppression Bible studies. Chantilly is most passionate about the ways churches like Common Ground create space to awaken authenticity, enhance human connection and mobilize our creative, collective power as people of faith. As a native Hawaiian, she moved to California for to study at Pepperdine before moving to NYC to attain her MDiv at Union Theological Seminary. She completed that degree in 2011 and was subsequently ordained as a minister in the Disciples of Christ. Currently she splits her time between developing CG’s worship culture and working with the United Methodist Women at The Inter-church Center in NYC as a faith & justice educator and event specialist.
Born and raised in Michigan, Chris came to Columbia University for undergrad and ended up sticking around! So 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 people. He joined the leadership excited to grow a progressive church that's centered in the Jesus tradition, finds unity in diversity, and takes seriously its commitment to include others.
Sarah is a Brooklyn-based music educator & musician who's always learning new instruments. Originally from Long Island, Sarah came to NYC to study at NYU, then Columbia. She's passionate about equity and access in education, especially arts education, and has worked for numerous non-profits who share this vision. Sarah's excited to join CG and help shape a worship culture for post-Evangelicals that includes everyone in the process.
After stops in NJ, VA, FL & England, Lance and his partner now call NYC home. Before an MDiv from Princeton, he completed an MA in Ministerial Leadership & a BS in Practical Theology at Southeastern. Currently, Lance is pursuing ordination in the United Church of Christ, works at Fifth Ave Presbyterian, and is learning all he can about how all of us can more authentically connect to ourselves, one another, and all of creation to the Divine.
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 demonstrable progressive positions on justice, gender, economy and race. Though Common Ground is not a PCUSA church, the denomination is a financial supporter of CG and our organizing pastor, Chris Romine, is an ordained minister through them.
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.