I was surprised and pleased to see that a Presbyterian Church made it into the New York Times today. No, there is no scandal. Nothing about declining membership or divisive church politics. None of that. The headline I read in the morning was “Millenials in Church – Up Close.” The online edition is called “A Congregation in Skinny Jeans.”
By either title, the article focuses on Resurrection Presbyterian Church in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. And, yes, apparently they wear skinny jeans to a church that caters to the artisans of Williamsburg. The majority of their members are Millennials (young adults under 30).
The article focuses considerable attention on the pastor, Thomas Vito Aiuto, who goes simply by Vito. He grew up in a marginally-religious family, became agnostic in college, but then had a powerful conversation experience when he overdosed on caffeine and beer during an exam period. Vito attended Princeton Seminary and then worked with college students at NYU. He started Resurrection Presbyterian Church about six years ago.
There’s a double encouragement here for those of us who care about the church. First, there’s the fact of Resurrection Presbyterian and its flourishing in Brooklyn. Second, there’s the fact that this received attention in the New York Times, with nary a criticism.
There is only one curious downside. The article on this church appears, not in the News section of the Times, nor in the section that focuses on New York City, but rather in “Fashion & Style” section. In the eyes of the editors of the Times, is a thriving church nothing more than a fashion or style trend? Hmmm.