The Church of Gethsemane

1012 8th Ave
Brooklyn NY 11215
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Project Connect is a successful, 20-year-old program that connects incarcerated men and women to Church of Gethsemane. Click here to learn more. We are welcoming, diverse and inclusive. We are a unique intentional congregation of persons from all racial, ethnic, economic and educational backgrounds, "founded in 1986 as a New Church Development and established as a church in 1989, Church of Gethsemane is a congregation of Presbyterian Church (USA) created by and for incarcerated persons, formerly incarcerated persons, their families, neighborhood persons, and people who feel called into ministry with the poor." Church of Gethsemane is a More Light Presbyterian Church and a member of New York City's Presbyterian Welcome. Gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons are welcome in our church. All members of our church have an equal opportunity to serve as ordained leaders in our congregation. Founded in 1986 as a fellowship and established as a church in 1989, Church of Gethsemane is a congregation of Presbyterian Church (USA) created by and for incarcerated persons, formerly incarcerated persons, their families, neighborhood persons, and people who feel called into ministry with the poor. In solidarity, we seek justice for our world and the empowerment of the Christian gospel in our lives. We thrive on our diversity and value our inclusiveness. No one is turned away. All are welcome. We strive to create a spiritual community that comforts and challenges, struggles and sustains, heals and liberates. We value people for who they are, which frees us to struggle for who we-and the world-might become. On April 30th, 1989 the Presbytery of New York City celebrated the organization of Church of Gethsemane in their new space at Park Slope, Brooklyn's former Prospect Heights Presbyterian Church on 1012 Eighth Ave. The invitation to this event stated that "The Church of Gethsemane is being constituted as an intentional congregation of neighborhood persons, prisoners, ex-offenders and their families, and people in solidarity with the poor and the imprisoned. Together, we seek the empowerment of the Christian gospel to heal our lives and bring justice to our world." The Rev. Dr. Constance M. Baugh, the founding pastor, was also installed at this event. At that time, she had already been a leader in the field of criminal justice for almost twenty years. She was the first woman to organize a PCUSA church in New York City. Church of Gethsemane grew out of Rev. Baugh's criminal justice ministry at the Women's Correctional Institutions at Rikers Island in New York City. In 1978 she founded Citizen Advocates for Justice, Inc (CAFJ) --- a direct service organization which evolved into JusticeWorks Community under the leadership of Mary-Elizabeth Fitzgerald. In the course of Rev. Baugh's criminal justice ministry, incarcerated persons, formerly incarcerated persons and their families often called upon her for baptisms, funerals, marriages, and communion services. Many people did not feel welcomed in churches when they came home from prison or jail. To respond to a need for a safe welcoming faith community, Rev. Baugh organized a small group of formerly incarcerated persons and members of their families as a worshipping fellowship. The group first worshipped at Mount Morris Presbyterian Church and then moved to Chapel of First Presbyterian Church in the City of NY on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in 1985. Later that year, the Presbytery of NYC approved the Fellowship as Church of Gethsemane. In January 1986, the Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly approved the church as a new church development project, and granted us $50, 000 a year for the next three years. Rev. Baugh described our new church this way: "Gethsemane provides an opportunity for the voiceless to find their voices, the breaking of silence, and solidarity instead of charity. Persons who have been disinherited and disempowered by the world have moved from the margins to the cen