On Sunday we went to church at 11:00 at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church on 55th and 5th Avenue. We dressed up (khakis and shirt/tie for Den and skirt/top and tights for Mary….we have very limited wardrobes here) for the first time and walked about 20 minutes on a perfect fall Sunday morning. FAPC is the church at which Migs Emerson’s father, John Bonnell, was the head pastor for many years, and we had heard about it from many. It was wonderful!
The church itself is about the same vintage as Central Presbyterian, our home church in Denver, and the architecture is strikingly similar in many ways. It includes a center aisle (unlike Central), balconies, a magnificent organ, and a choir loft above the altar. We were warmly greeted when we arrived and seated ourselves fairly near the front. The church was quite full. About half of the men were in suits and others were dressed nicely if not quite so formally. We did not feel out of place. The ages were mixed, probably a bit more older people than younger. Twenty five new people joined on Sunday and most seemed younger. There are several ministers as one would expect…..the membership is about 3500. The head pastor is Rev. Dr. Scott Black Jackson who we had heard was quite dynamic. That was an understatement! He was fabulous. He is a bit younger than we and, in every respect, is a Mark Ramsey clone…..his size, beard, presence, inflections, sermons. It was a joy to listen to him. We were captivated by his command of the “stage” as well as by the content of his material. The music was also glorious, the hymns were familiar, and we were enthralled. It was a total joy to be there and we are certain to return.
Afterwards we met Dr. Black Jackson who was friendly and warm. He said that he knows Mark from Austin Theological Seminary and spoke fondly of him and of Cheryl. We forgot to mention our connection to Dr. John Bonnell (there is a large hall in the church called Bonnell Hall)…but we can do that next time! We left the church energized and happy and ready to go out into the real world of NYC again.