Tim Keller’s Redeemer Network has established four large churches in NYC: East, West, Uptown and Lincoln Square. The East Side campus recently signed on with Temple Israel to move their worship services from their longtime Hunter College location (25 years) to the New York City synagogue effective March 31, 2019. The move was outlined on Redeemer’s website as follows:
We are excited about the opportunities this move will bring. Temple Israel has been an integral part of the Upper East Side community for more than 50 years. They have been warmly welcoming and have been enthusiastic about the opportunity to host us in their building. When Senior Pastor Abe Cho met with their rabbi, David Gelfand, he explained that he sees it as a partnership for a richer religious life on the Upper East Side, which is good for all.
In Pastor Cho’s congregational announcement he expressed his excitement in building a relationship with the rabbi because of the opportunity it presents to be more rooted in the community and to be known as an institution that seeks the good of their neighbors. He added that this is just one small move in that direction which will produce very real face to face ties with other institutions. He said that moving into Temple Israel gives a real taste of community and stretches the imagination as to what it will look like to be a church “for the city.”
Some commonly asked questions were answered for church members In the Q&A session that followed:
Q: What is the sanctuary like?
A: It’s an intimate space that seats about 900 (395 on the ground level and 500 in the balcony). It features rainbow-hued windows along the walls signifying God’s covenant with Noah, a thirty foot high structure suggesting the Ark of the Testimony, carried through the wilderness accompanied by a column of cloud by day, and fire by night (Exodus 40) and the Solomonic Temple of Jerusalem (I Kings 7) with the words “God is my Rock and my Salvation,” and rock supporting the Torah quarried from the mountains of the Sinai Desert.
Q: What is the space at Temple Israel like?
A: Watch this virtual walking tour (6:39) to get a sense for the space.
Q: Is there heightened security because it is a synagogue?
A: Yes, Temple Israel does have increased security measures that are important for you to be aware of before you arrive. Normally, they require every person entering the building to be wanded and go through a bag check. For our services, however, they are graciously allowing the security to just do random wandings and bag checks in order to accommodate our numbers. If you are randomly selected for a security check, we appreciate your cooperation.
Q: Are there Kosher food requirements we need to observe while in the building?
A: Temple Israel asks that food served be kosher style (mainly no shellfish or pork), but it isn’t a strictly kosher facility.
The Redeemer Network of churches and parachurch organizations continue their ecumenical march of building bridges to the world at the expense of biblical truth. But contending for the faith once delivered to the saints was never Keller’s intent, which has been more than evidenced and clearly demonstrated by Pulpit and Pen, as well as other faithful ministries who are sounding the warning.
[Editor’s Note: Contributed by Toni S. Brown]