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Part 5: The Making of the Postsecular City. The Manhattan Evangelicals and the City’s comeback

However, at its lowest point the city opted to rehabilitate itself. Often, outsiders played pivotal roles. On November 20, 1976 Rupert Murdoch bought and reinvented a failing New York Post while promoting the retirement of the pathetic Mayor Abe Beame in favor of Ed Koch. During the new mayor’s tenure, author Jonathan Mahler recalls, “The […]

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However, at its lowest point the city opted to rehabilitate itself. Often, outsiders played pivotal roles. On November 20, 1976 Rupert Murdoch bought and reinvented a failing New York Post while promoting the retirement of the pathetic Mayor Abe Beame in favor of Ed Koch. During the new mayor’s tenure, author Jonathan Mahler recalls, “The private sector created more jobs in the city than in the fifties and sixties combined." Private-public partnerships like the East Brooklyn Congregations started what eventually became hugely successful housing programs. Koch started massive infrastructure projects that saved the bridges, water mains and sewage pipes from collapsing.

Consequent to a change in federal laws in 1965, a new wave of immigrants started landing in the city in the 1970s. They often brought their faiths with them or discovered faith as a way making sense of the city. A large portion of these new immigrants came as or became evangelical Christians.

In 1976 the Democratic National Convention held its confab in the city and put forth evangelical Christian Jimmy Carter as its presidential candidate. Rolling Stone’s Hunter S. Thompson called it “Jimmy Carter and the great leap of faith.” The party connected its candidate to New York City’s hopes by promising a “massive effort” to help the city. Carter went onto win the presidency by the virtue of a massive vote turnout in New York City. President Carter came to the city on October 5, 1977 to promise aid to the devastated wasteland around Charlotte Street in the South Bronx. To pastors in the neighborhood Carter seemed like a bearer of the gospel of salvation.

In that same year the rise of New York City’s iconic status of a new youthful cosmopolitan style was heralded by Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall. A Clevelander George Steinbrenner, Sr. came, bought the Yankees, and brought another outsider Reggie Jackson to the city in 1976. The Yankees won their first World Series since 1964. Despite being a basket case, the city showed that it still could hope to make a comeback. New Yorkers started walking down the streets to the tune, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." Here and there New Yorkers were also turning to help from above. Some felt called by God to help bring the city back.

On December 31, 1977 a 25-year old A. R. Bernard felt called by God to go into ministry. Only about two years previously, while he was listening to Nicky Cruz, former head of the notorious Mau Mau gang in Brooklyn, Bernard says he heard an inner voice tell him, “I am the God you are looking for.” Along with many others, Bernard now turned toward helping his fellow New Yorkers find a spiritual path through the desolation. Within ten years Bernard was establishing the foundation for what would become the largest church in the city.

Nicky Cruz, former Mau Mau leader:

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Monday: Part 6: The Making of the Postsecular City. The Manhattan Evangelicals' comeback in 1978

6 Responses to “Part 5: The Making of the Postsecular City. The Manhattan Evangelicals and the City’s comeback” Leave a reply ›

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  • Thanks. Interesting site you have in Chicago.

  • Christian Cultural Center

    Service Times
    Sundays
    8:00am | 10:30am | 1:00pm

    Tuesday Prayer Meeting:
    7:00pm

    12020 Flatlands Avenue
    Brooklyn, New York 11207
    (718) 306-1000

    Click here for CCC on Google Maps

    Directions By Car

    From New Jersey/Verrazano Bridge:
    Take the Verrazano Bridge to Belt Parkway (East) and make a left on Pennsylvania Avenue. Go straight on Pennsylvania Avenue and make a left on to Flatlands Avenue. Turn left on Louisiana Avenue. The entrance is on your left across from the Pathmark Mall Entrance.

    From Tri-Borough Bridge/Long Island:
    Take the LIE or Grand Central or Northern State to the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Continue on to the Pennsylvania Avenue Exit. Go straight on Pennsylvania Avenue. Make a right on to Flatlands Avenue. Turn left on Louisiana Avenue. The entrance is on your left across from the Pathmark Mall Entrance.

    Take the Southern State on to the Belt Parkway (West). Continue on to Pennsylvania Avenue (Exit 14) and make a right. Go straight on Pennsylvania Avenue and make a left on to Flatlands Avenue. Turn left on Louisiana Avenue. The entrance is across from the Pathmark Mall Entrance.

    From Manhattan/Downtown Brooklyn:
    Take the Brooklyn Bridge and make a left at Tillary Street. Go two blocks and make a right on to Flatbush Avenue. Take Flatbush to Grand Army Plaza (Large Circle). Bear left in the Circle to Eastern Parkway. Take Eastern Parkway and make a right on Buffalo Avenue at the park. (Buffalo will turn into Rockaway Parkway at East New York Avenue). Keep straight (look for Brookdale Hospital on left). Make a left on to Linden Boulevard Service Road. Continue on about 10 blocks and make a right on Louisiana Avenue. Cross Flatlands Avenue. The entrance is on your left across from the Pathmark Mall Entrance.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Directions By Train
    Take #3 train to Rockaway Avenue. Take the B60 Bus South to Flatlands and Williams Avenue, then walk 2 blocks east.

    Take train to Rockaway Avenue. Take the B60 Bus South to Flatlands and Williams Avenue, then walk 2 blocks east.
    Take L train to Rockaway Avenue. Take the B60 Bus South to Flatlands and Williams Avenue, then walk 2 blocks east.

    Take A train to Rockaway Avenue. Take the B60 Bus South to Flatlands and Williams Avenue, then walk 2 blocks east.

    Directions By Bus
    Take the B6 to Glenwood and Alabama Avenue. Walk 1 block south to Flatlands Avenue.

    Take the B60 to Flatlands and Williams Avenue. Walk 2 blocks east or transfer to the B82.

    Take the B82 to Flatlands and Louisiana Avenue.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Directions By CCC Bus
    Departure time is 9am SHARP! Please note, there is limited seating.
    All registration fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

    REGISTER NOW

    Pick-up times and locations
    Manhattan
    9:00am - Bus Stop #1: 125th Street & Lenox Avenue
    9:15am - Bus Stop #2: 58th Street & 8th Avenue

    Queens
    9:00am - Family Courthouse - Archer Avenue

    Brooklyn
    9:00am - JUNIOR'S at 386 Flatbush & Dekalb Avenue

  • What church does Reverend Bernard pastor? And when are the services?

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