On September 22, 2019, Metro Baptist Church and its affiliated nonprofit, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, embarked on a capital campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to lay the foundation for a larger fundraising effort for the purpose of “opening our doors wider.” This theme refers to our desire to serve more by enlarging our hospitality. We want our space to be accessible, safer, more sustainable, and larger. Nicer restrooms would also be a way to provide hospitality to the thousands of people who come through our buildings every year. Our goal is to commit roughly 1/10 of the needed capital of 12 million dollars over 3 to 5 years. Because of the study conducted last spring we believe this is feasible. After this initial commitment we will be raising more funds by a national effort to reach foundations and donors who love what we do as Metro Baptist Church and Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries.
Not all that long ago – in the early 80s – as Metro began to pray about owning its own building the small church had 6,000 dollars in a fund. Now we own two buildings in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen and have a beautiful legacy of ministry here since 1984. This large step is just another in our journey of faith, hope, and love. Take a moment and watch our video and learn how to pray for us. Sign up for one of our “Campaign Salons” to learn more. Please consider a gift. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this effort to the future growth of Metro and the work that happens in our building through RMM.
Sign up for one of our Campaign Salons here.
To view our architectural dreams, click here or on one of the photos below.
Email us here to request regular updates on our campaign progress.
If you would like more information about how to give to the Metro Baptist Church Capital Campaign, fill out this form.
Our congregation recently sang “Praise to the Lord” and the words “ponder anew what the Almighty can do” strongly resonated in me and I decided to would use them as part of my talk on the Opening the Doors Wider Campaign.
I am a relatively new member of Metro. I used to attend a much larger church, but one day when the weather was bad, I came here because it is close to my apartment. I liked the welcoming spirit, especially the moment I walked in the door and was greeted by Connie, and I liked the teaching I heard by the pastors.
When I learned that the church started in this building in 1984, I was amazed. The area was very dangerous back then. There was a very sad, depressing movie that took place in Times Square called “Midnight Cowboy.” It accurately showed the grittiness of the area, like movie houses up and down 42nd Street showing XXX movies. Although the film was from the 1970’s there was still a lot Midnight Cowboy throughout the 1980’s Times Square/Hells Kitchen until Disney spearheaded redevelopment.
I lived in Hells Kitchen in the 80’s and saw firsthand how foreboding it was. My partner was afraid to walk home from work and he waited for me at my job so we could walk together. We rarely ventured out at night. We pretty much wanted to move out soon after we moved in and within three months we did move.
But there were some dreamers who had a vision to move in to Hell’s Kitchen back then, a group who held services in office space on West 72nd Street. They sought a permanent home, and found this long-abandoned Polish Catholic church. A church pamphlet read “Homeless people down the block…prostitutes on the corner…crack dealers across the street. What a great place for a church!” Pastor Gene Bolin, the first pastor, prayed Metro would be a 24/7 church for the people. His prayer was answered as church began its social outreach, providing Christian teaching, clothing, food and educational services. I am very proud to now be a member of a church with such a vital mission.
My favorite book in the Bible is James. I believe that you don’t need to be a Christian to learn about life from James – I think of it’s a users’ guide for righteous living anyone can benefit from. It offers lessons about poverty and riches; faith and wisdom; warnings about showing favoritism and partiality; trials and temptations. The most important teaching to not just hear the Word of God, but do the Work of God – “Be doers, not merely hearers,” it says. My favorite Bible verses are the last couple of verses in Chapter 1:
“If anyone think of themselves as religious and does not bridle their tongues…their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and chaste in the eyes of God our Father is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
I think of a daily devotional I read a long time ago. Some cowboys were sitting around a campfire singing their praises for their boss, Rancher Bob. They love how Rancher Bob cares for them, feeds them and shelters them. “Rancher Bob is a wonderful guy,” one cowboy says. Another intones, “Yes, I can’t believe how blessed we are to have him.” The third says, “I’d do anything for Rancher Bob!” Finally, another cowboy declares, “Sure Rancher Bob is a wonderful guy, but he doesn’t want us to just sit around all night talking about how great he is. He expects us to get out and do his work.”
I took a liking to Metro because I saw how we don’t just sing praises to God on Sundays; we hear the Word of God then do the Work for God. We open our doors for widows and orphans like it says in James, but we also open them for the homeless, hungry, lonely, sad, and sick people who are relegated to the outer margins in our society.
The church I used to attend was beautiful inside and out. Flowers adorned the sanctuary every Sunday, but Easter Sunday was particularly awe-inspiring – a 20-foot cross was entirely covered with Easter lilies. A brass band blared out Easter hymns. When we sang “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” accompanied by the band, I was always moved to tears.
I wondered if I would miss that pomp when I celebrated Easter for my first time at Metro. An unadorned cross was in the sanctuary and below it were baskets of flowers. Then we, as a community of believers, both kids and adults, walked up to the cross and decorated it with the flowers. It was much simpler than the lilies cross, but there was something about its simplicity that made me know I am now in the right place as a start a new chapter in my spiritual growth.
A couple of years ago, I attended a community meeting with officials from the Port Authority and City Hall in our sanctuary which proposed plans for a new bus terminal. One plan they touted could have razed Metro and several other business in the neighborhood. That’s not going to happen. Instead of being bulldozed, we are rebuilding Metro. I believe in this mission and I am committed to doing my part to make the doors open even wider.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do!