It was great to be back in New York and serving alongside our strategic partner, New City Church. We brought a team of 7 to provide volunteers for a neighborhood outreach to the community of Long Island City. As many of you may know, we have come to NYC for several years and are proud partners with Patrick and Katie as they planted New City Church. Our main objective this year was to volunteer at the inflatables and serve at the popcorn stand.
Over the last several years, Patrick and the team have offered a free, community-wide Carnival in Long Island City. Nothing is free in New York, so many planned to attend when they heard of this opportunity. This year, we saw over 4,000 people engage with the Carnival. It was a great day to see the children have fun getting their faces painted, play on the inflatables, and win candy prizes at the different booths. But what was more exciting was engaging with the parents. They were in awe that we would provide all of this for free and for the community. We had multiple conversations with parents, connecting them to New City Church and offering the reason we were there to share the love of Jesus with them. A simple act of kindness can lead someone to Christ and change their destiny. As far as I know, no one prayed to receive Christ while we were there. But, history has shown people started to engage with the church because of the Carnival. The church sees new visitors every Sunday for 6-8 months because of the Carnival. How amazing is that? What a fantastic difference that can make! I am proud of our team, who loved, served, and connected people with New City Church.
This year was a little bittersweet. At the beginning of the year, Patrick informed us that in January of 2024, he and Katie will be stepping away from the leadership of New City Church and NYC and relocating their lives and ministry focus to France, one of the most secular and unchurched areas of Europe and the world. They will transition from church planters in NYC to service with the IMB on the France National Team.
About 5 years ago, Jared and Jana Parsons became a part of the New City Church faith family. They moved into the neighborhood and immediately connected with the heart and soul of the congregation. They have served as campus leaders for the Navigators ministry at NYU Tandon in Brooklyn. A few years ago, God planted a seed in their heart to consider what ministry might look like in a different role, one of pastoring in a local church. Over the years, Jared has become one of their teachers and a primary teacher and pastor in their faith community.
Over the past months, God has confirmed this call in his life, and New City is excited to announce that they will soon ordain Jared to full-time pastoral ministry. As the church does that, Jared and Jana will be stepping away from their roles at Navigators, and Jared will be taking on a more permanent and prominent role at NCC as pastor and shepherd.
What does this transition mean for us here at Calvary? We are committed to continuing our engagement with our partnership with New City Church and Jared. We will commit to serving at the Carnival again next year and support New City as before. We will also continue to evaluate our efforts and the transition to ensure we are good stewards of our entrusted resources. In addition, we hope and desire to be a part of the sending coalition for Patrick and Katie as they transition to France. Lord willing, we will have a vision trip to discover ways to bring a team to France and join them in their work.
We are in an exciting time in our ministry as we will gain another destination for our mission trips. Please pray with me for New City and Jared as they navigate this transition and for Patrick and Katie as they prepare to move to France and begin ministry there.