Abounding Grace: Honoring 30 Years of Ministry and Envisioning Thirty More
Published: 10/10/2012 3:22:35 AM
The staff at Abounding Grace Ministries: Associate Pastor Arthur Verdejo, Pastor Arlene Del Rio, Senior Pastor Rick Del Rio, and Associate Pastor Louis A. Carlo
2012 is a milestone year for Abounding Grace Ministries in Lower Manhattan. Under the leadership of Senior Pastor Rick Del Rio, the ministry is celebrating 30 Years as a community ministry and 20 Years as a church.
On October 27, the church will host “Grace to Grace: Celebrating the Future,” a gala honoring thirty years of ministry and envisioning the next thirty. The gala (6-10 p.m.) will be held at Wallace Hall at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish, 980 Park Avenue at 84th Street, Manhattan, and feature a silent auction, cocktail hour, and dinner program. Event proceeds will go to the Project Promised Land capital campaign.
In 1982, the NYPD called the Lower East Side the city’s heroin capital, “where they kill people, sell their drugs, and sell their bodies.” Three decades later researchers describe the area as “bipolar,” due to extreme economic disparities created by generational poverty in densely populated housing projects, and the gentrification that makes the market-rate housing across the street unaffordable to all but the most upwardly mobile New Yorkers. The resulting socio-economic tensions have simmered just beneath the surface for the last five-plus years.
“When Abounding Grace came to the neighborhood thirty years ago, we brought a mandate to love the poor, addicted, and broken,” said Rev. Del Rio. “Romans 5:20 challenged us: ‘Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.’ ”
The same impulse to minister to drug addicts, dealers, and prostitutes as evangelists, compelled Rev. Rick and Arlene Del Rio to start a church for street people in 1992; to race to Ground Zero on 9/11 as the World Trade Center was collapsing and most others were running away; and to innovate public school ministry in 2006.
“Today we are again inspired by Romans to manifest the Kingdom of God in ways we have never seen before,” said Rev. Del Rio. “The next chapter for Abounding Grace means empowering our next generation of leaders to evolve a church that was built from the streets of one of New York City’s most notorious neighborhoods to one that loves both sides of the street equally well. ‘From Grace to Grace’ will provide the public unveiling of what that evolution is going to look like. Join us.”