Hi, I am Debbie. I call and interview religious leaders after our census crew has mapped their sites. Two weeks ago, while I was interviewing Rev. Thomas Abraham of New York Pentecostal Assembly of Staten Island (www.nypasi.org), a predominantly Indian American church, I was happily surprised to learn that he not only knows someone who lives in my town but even knows my neighbor! In fact his daughter attends my neighbor's church's Friday fellowship and his son has preached there a few times. The interconnections of the religious communities of New York City often give me these pleasant moments of personal connection during my interviews.
Rev. Abraham not only ministers in Staten Island but also serves as a leader for Ebenezer Gospel Mission-India to Northern and Southern India.(www.egm-india.org). Recently, the Staten Island pastor just returned from working with this network of 300 churches in India, 3 orphanages, and a school that has four branches. Rev. Abraham has also taught classes at the African American-founded Bethel Bible Institute in New York. The interconnections--Indian, Chinese, African American, to name only a few that the reverend mention--are quite marvelous to see in action.
There are about 9892 Indian Americans in Staten Island, 4% of the their total population of 247,292 in the city. Since 2000, their population growth rate in Staten Island has been about 10% per year. (Source: US Census 2000; American Community Surveys, 2005-2007. Photo from mission website.)