Save Park Church Co-op
Save Park Church Co-op
The Park Church in Greenpoint has endured for over 100 years as a place of public assembly for the community.
Now, a short-sighted sale by property owner, The Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (MNYS) threatens to shutter this public asset for good, converting it into private condominiums or tearing it down completely. We urge the Attorney General to halt this sale, pending an investigation into the MNYS's handling of the church since it went into receivership back in 2014.
The Park Church was founded in 2015, with the full blessing and support of the MNYS, with a mission focusing on, "radical love of the neighbor through welcome and invitation." While the church struggled to maintain a congregation during these past 7 years, the building has thrived as a generous and diverse community space, serving children, families, the homeless, and all manner of other Greenpoint resdients through musical shows, low-cost rental space, and a fabulous community kitchen. We believe that this secondary activity as a community center was and is fundamental to the mission of the Park Church.
We contend, therefore, that electing to sell this church to the highest bidder, in defiance of this mission-based context and demonstrated history, and indeed in defiance of community wishes, constitutes an actionable breach of non-profit law section N-PCL §§ 511(d) and 511-a(c), which dictate that any sale must pass a two-prong test confirming that, "(1) that the consideration and the terms of the transaction are fair and reasonable to the corporation and (2) that the purposes of the corporation or the interests of its members will be promoted by the transaction."
By signing this petition, you agree to attach your name to a complaint that we, the Friends of Park Church, will submit to the NY Attorney General's office on behalf of the People of Greenpoint, stating:
"As the de-facto stewards of a non-profit, major asset, the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St, BK, NY 11222), the Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS) has a duty to dispose of this asset in a way that furthers both it's mission, and the mission of the former Luther Church of the Messiah. By selling an established place of public assembly to private developers, whose use of the property will by definition preclude the public, we maintain that this sale fails the "two-prong test," as put forth by the AG's Charities Bureau. We further seek clarity on why the MNYS has made no effort to engage local stakeholders in disposition of this asset."
We know that there is a very slim chance that this complaint will receive the notice that we feel it deserves, but in the absence of any other action to preserve this building for community use, we feel we must take this action.
Thank you for your support, and keep the faith!
Friends of Park Church Co-op
We have been informed of the Metro NY Synod's decision to ignore our campaign and proceed with the sale of the building to a condo developer, as feared. This despite an alternate offer by an individual intending to keep the building as a community space.
Because Park Church Co-Op is a religious institution, the sale of the property requires the approval of NYS Attorney Letitia James' office. We urge the Attorney General to STOP this sale and to block any sale that does not keep in mind the needs of the Greenpoint community which have acted as caretakers of the space for over 100 years.
We encourage all interested parties to read the linked article for a history of how the building was originally acquired by Metro NY Synod for $0 before it was listed for its current sale price of 4.5 million dollars.
Park Church Co-op is a progressive Lutheran church and community hub that has flourished under the ministry of Pastor Jacob Simpson.
Park Church is also a staple of the broader Greenpoint community. Hosting regular concerts, a homeless shelter, children's music lessons, offering affordable space to artists, and supporting activist movements including North Brooklyn Mutual Aid and Make McGuinness Safe.
The Metro NY Synod, our administration and the owners of the property, recently informed us of their intention to end funding for Park Church Co-op in January and to close.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on both our and the Synod's financial situations, we have taken bold steps towards financial sustainability through our concert series, our summer Arts festival, and partnerships with various community groups.
We are asking the Synod to continue to fund Park Church Coop and to keep our doors open so that we can continue to support the community, build our congregation, and work towards financial independence.
We do not want to see this community hub closed, sold, torn down, and replaced with condos. As such, we are asking the Synod to restore funding for our church, so that we can work as partners towards a brighter future for the congregation, the Greenpoint community, and the Synod itself.