First time at Middle Church?

The diversity of our congregation and staff looks like a New York City subway but it feels like a home full of love. Welcome to church like you’ve never experienced it before.

Our Story

Who We Are

Middle Church is where therapy meets Broadway; where art and dance meet a gospel revival; where old time religion gets a new twist. We are Bach, Beatles, and Beethoven; we are jazz, hip-hop, and spirituals. We are inspired by Howard Thurman, Ruby Sales, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Martin Luther King. We are on-your-feet worship and take-it-to-the-streets activism. We feed the hungry and work for a living wage; we fight for LGBTQ+ equality and march for racial/ethnic justice. We stand up for the stranger and the immigrant; we care for women’s lives and Mother Earth.

We’ve been to the border, we’ve rebuilt in Puerto Rico; we’ve been arrested while fighting for health care and supporting survivors of sexual violence. From Trayvon to Mike to Sandy to Eric—we know that when Black Lives Matter, all lives will matter.

Middle Collegiate Church and The Collegiate Church of New York is co-affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church in America.

Our Vision

We believe in the power of Love. Period.

Through Love, we are each created in God’s image and filled with the Divine Spark. No matter whom we love, no matter how we look, no matter where we are on our journey, God’s imprint is in every person of every race/ethnicity, every gender, and every sexual orientation. We believe God speaks many languages and is calling us on many paths to peace—Shalom. We believe that Love put on flesh—brown, poor, Jewish baby flesh—and came to live among us. We believe God lives among us still; we are the living body of Christ. We are the hands, feet, and heartbeat of God. We believe the Spirit of God calls us to freedom, and we are not free until all of us are free.

Our Work

God’s Reign. Right Now.

Middle Collegiate Church is a multicultural, multi-ethnic, inter-generational movement of Spirit and justice, powered by Revolutionary Love, with room for all. Following in the Way of Jesus’ radical love, and inspired by the prophets, Middle Church is called by God to do a bold new thing on the earth. We aim to heal the soul and the world by dismantling racist, classist, sexist, and homophobic systems of oppression.

Because our God is still speaking in many languages, we work in inter-religious partnerships to uproot injustice, eradicate poverty, care for the brokenhearted, and build the Reign of God on earth. This activism is fueled by our faith; our faith is expressed in art; our art is an active prayer connecting us with the Holy Spirit. Middle Church affirms the transformative power of moral imagination, reclaiming and re-framing Christianity inside our walls, on the street, and in virtual spaces around the globe.

Come Join Us

WORSHIP CELEBRATIONS

Sundays

11:45 AM

Celebration is livestreamed on our homepage, Facebook and YouTube Channels

Our Ministers

Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. (she/her)

Senior Minister for Public Theology and Transformation

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Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. (she/her)

Senior Minister for Public Theology and Transformation

The Rev. Jacqui Lewis, PhD uses her gifts as author, activist, preacher, public theologian toward creating an antiracist, just, fully welcoming society in which everyone has enough. After graduating with an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1992, Jacqui fell in love with urban ministry, leading two churches in Trenton, New Jersey. Fascinated with how faith heals the soul—so we can heal the world—she returned to graduate school, for a Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion from Drew University (2004). Jacqui came to study Middle Church, received a call, and joined the staff in January 2004. Middle is the church of her dreams and prayers, a multiethnic rainbow coalition of love, justice, and worship that rocks her soul.

In her activism, preaching, speaking, writing, and teaching, Dr. Lewis advocates for racial equality, gun control, economic justice, equal rights for all sexual orientations/genders and marriage equality. Because of her dynamic leadership, Middle Church was featured in a national broadcast on CBS. A Bold New Love: Christmas Eve with Middle Collegiate Church aired on December 24, 2018 to more than 1,000,000 viewers. Dr. Lewis has been on the The Today Show, All In with Chris Hayes, AM Joy, The Melissa Harris Perry Show, NY1, ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS and WPIX, where she recently covered the Brooklyn memorial for George Floyd. Dr. Lewis created two national television programs: Just Faith, an on-demand television program on MSNBC.com, and Chapter and Verse at PBS.

Jacqui is a womanist whose preaching, teaching, speaking, writing, and activism are aimed at racial equality, gun control, economic justice, and equal rights for all sexual orientations and genders. Jacqui has preached at the Festival of Homiletics, Wild Goose, The Children’s Defense Fund’s Haley Farm, and was a featured speaker on the Together national tour with best-selling author, Glennon Doyle.

Jacqui’s books include Ten Essential Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation, The Power of Stories, a Guide for Leaders in Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Congregations, the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful! a rhyming celebration of diversity, and a contributing chapter to Becoming Like Creoles: Living and Leading at the Intersections of Injustice, Culture and Religion. Her newest book Fierce Love: A Bold Path to a Better Life and a Better World will be published in November and is available for pre-order wherever books are sold. And her podcast Love. Period. is available on all streaming platforms.

Email Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. (she/her)
Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft (she/her)

Executive Minister for Justice, Education & Movement Building

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Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft (she/her)

Executive Minister for Justice, Education & Movement Building

Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft is the Executive Minister for Justice, Education & Movement Building at Middle Church. Prior to Middle, she served as Director of Outreach at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in Midtown Manhattan, and as Outreach Coordinator for Metro Baptist Church/the Rauschenbusch Center in Hell’s Kitchen, NY. She is the founder of Raising Imagination, a platform that examines social issues through the lens of imagination and encourages activism with young and old alike.

Her activism has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal, and Refinery29. She’s a regular writer and inaugural board member of The Resistance Prays, and serves on the Junior Board of The Lower East Side Girls Club.

Amanda graduated from the Baptist Theology Seminary of Richmond, Virginia with a M.Div. and from Samford University with a B.A. in Communications Studies and a Minor in Christianity, Women, and Leadership. Amanda’s pronouns are she/her/hers.

Amanda was ordained by Metro Baptist Church in 2016, is married to Graham and has three children Zane, Levi, and Skyler.

Email Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft (she/her)
Rev. Darrell R. Hamilton II (he/him)

Executive Minister for Operations and Resource Development

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Rev. Darrell R. Hamilton II (he/him)

Executive Minister for Operations and Resource Development

Rev. Darrell R. Hamilton, II is the Executive Minister for Operations and Resource Development. Prior to Middle, he served as the Pastor for Formation and Outreach at First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, MA, and the Program Director for Urban Pastoral Ministry Program at City Mission Boston.

Darrell is impassioned by the way politics and faith merge together in the Christian theological traditions of justice and liberation. He believes that through the Christian values and ideals of diversity and inclusiveness, advocacy for the vulnerable and marginalized, the Christian tradition has within itself the means necessary to inspire our nation and world toward greater justice and love for all.

Darrell is an ordained Baptist minister, and his leadership has had him serve on the Board of Directors of The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts and the Alliance of Baptists. He has worked as an adjunct professor for Contextual Education at Boston University School of Theology. He has held leadership within the Massachusetts’ Poor People’s Campaign, and he brings his energy and enthusiasm for the gospel message to spread a deeper and fuller appreciation for the traditions of justice and liberation.

Darrell is a graduate of Wake Forest School of Divinity where he attained his Masters of Divinity Degree May 2017. Darrell is originally from Edmond, Oklahoma, and in 2012 received his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Darrell has various writings featured on the Baptist News Global website.

Email Rev. Darrell R. Hamilton II (he/him)
Rev. Natalie Renee Perkins (she/her)

Digital Minister & Director of Digital Ministry

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Rev. Natalie Renee Perkins (she/her)

Digital Minister & Director of Digital Ministry

Rev. Natalie Renee Perkins serves as Digital Minister and Director of Digital Ministry at Middle Collegiate Church, helping to build and hold its online church and community. She received her Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 2015 and was awarded the Karen Ziegler Feminist Preaching Prize. She became an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ denomination in 2020.

Natalie also serves as a chaplain/spiritual life advisor for NYU Global Spiritual Life and was recently awarded Chaplain of the Year. As a theologian, she is the co-founder of the Tanho Center where she lectures and works with extracanonical texts. She also works with the Westar Institute to bridge the gap between religious scholarship and the general public.

Additionally, Natalie is a professional writer, musical theatre performer, and composer. Her album, Songs of Your Truth is available on any major music streaming and/or purchasing platform.

Email Rev. Natalie Renee Perkins (she/her)
Rev. Benjamin Perry (he/him)

Minister of Outreach and Media Strategy

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Rev. Benjamin Perry (he/him)

Minister of Outreach and Media Strategy

Rev. Benjamin Perry is Minister of Outreach and Media Strategy at Middle Church. He has also worked as an organizer with the New York chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, as Deputy Director of Communications and Marketing at Union Theological Seminary, and as an editor at Time Inc.

An award-winning writer, his work focuses on the intersection of religion and politics. His writing can be found in outlets like The Washington Post, Slate, The Huffington Post, Sojourners, Bustle and Motherboard and he has appeared on MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and NY1. He holds a degree in psychology from SUNY Geneseo and a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary.

He is married to Erin Mayer, and they live with his brother and best friend. He is the editor of the Queer Faith photojournalism series, and helped curate an art exhibit by the same name. He is a passionate advocate for building Church that lives into God’s blessed queerness. His two proudest achievements are skydiving with his grandmother and winning first prize in his seminary drag show.

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Rev. Chad Tanaka Pack (he/him)

Consulting Minister

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Rev. Chad Tanaka Pack (he/him)

Consulting Minister

Chad Tanaka Pack is a Consulting Minister at Middle Church. His teaching and preaching reflect his deep commitments to racial justice, LGBTQ equality, and the arts. Chad was ordained as the first openly gay and married minister in the Reformed Church in America in 2017. In 2019, he transferred his ministerial standing to the United Church of Christ. He earned an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music in 2010. Chad is an aspiring author and novice fiber artist.

Chad is employed on the Homeless Veterans Team at Inner City Law Center, a nonprofit poverty-law firm in Los Angeles. He serves on the boards of directors of Room for All, which advocates for the welcome and full affirmation of LGBTQ people in the Reformed Church in America; and of the Middle Project. He also serves on the Yale Divinity School Alumni Board.

He is married to the Rev. Michael Foley. They live in Pasadena, California. Chad’s pronouns are he/him/his.

Rev. Catherine Torpey (she/her)

Consulting Minister

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Rev. Catherine Torpey (she/her)

Consulting Minister

Rev. Catherine Torpey is a consulting Minister at Middle and the Executive Director of The International Focusing Institute. Focusing is a mind-body connection practice which helps us bring our whole selves to our personal, professional and spiritual lives.

Catherine is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary and an ordained minister who led a small church on Long Island for a decade. She became a member of Middle in 2015 and has become known for her Bible studies. She brings a lifelong love for the scriptures, years of academic and personal study, and a way of reading them that is open and non-dogmatic. She also loves to sing and is a passionate devotee of West African drumming – plus her Spanish is not too bad.

She loves Middle and is so grateful to Jacqui, the ministry team, the staff and of course all the congregants and everyone who attends her classes who inspire her and co-create a loving, non-judgmental atmosphere where God’s presence can be felt.

Our Team

Elise Tiralli (they/them)

Director of Programs

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Elise Tiralli (they/them)

Director of Programs

Elise serves as the Director of Programs at Middle Church. Elise organizes programming for all ages, where they specialize in cultivating community and play for families, queer folx, and elders. Elise leads Middle’s Pride initiatives, and they are deeply committed to raising social consciousness and building safer spaces that center, celebrate, and uplift queer/LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC voices. They are also a joyful member of Middle’s Care Team, engaging clinical care from a liberation-based healing praxis and the deep belief that God’s radical love has room for all of us. Elise holds an MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work and a dual BA in Psychology and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from the University at Albany, SUNY.

Elise lives in Brooklyn with their partner and foster cats. They love red pandas, finding people who also ugly-laugh at the John Went dinosaur comic strip, and will never turn down an iced oat latte. They feel most at home down the shore, toes in the sand, or yelling at a terrible strike zone at a Phillies baseball game. In their “spare time,” Elise serves as the Vice President of Events on the National Board of Trustees for their sorority and is slowly chipping away at a book of fiction.

Email Elise Tiralli (they/them)
Cheryl Cochran (she/her)

Director of Community Center

Dionne McClain-Freeney (she/her)

Music Director

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Dionne McClain-Freeney (she/her)

Music Director

Dionne McClain-Freeney (she/her) is Director of Music. She is a pianist, music director, arranger, composer, lyricist, and teaching artist who believes that God is amazing, Black Lives Matter, women run the world, and that chocolate is a food group.

Email Dionne McClain-Freeney (she/her)
John Del Cueto (he/him)

Worship Director; Director of JJ Gospel Choir & Village Chorus for Children & Youth

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John Del Cueto (he/him)

Worship Director; Director of JJ Gospel Choir & Village Chorus for Children & Youth

My name is John Del Cueto and I am the Director of Worship, and also the Director of the Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir (JJGC)  as well as the Village Chorus for Children and Youth. I have the priviledge of working together with our Sr. Minister, Jacqui Lewis, and worship staff to help create the worship experience for Sunday morning. Sunday morning worship is an amazing moment of collaboration between staff and congregants as we both curate and create new content to meet the congregation in this present moment. I have been Director of the JJGC for the past 14 years and so we help to amplify worship and provide music that uplifts and transforms.  The Village Chorus for Children and Youth has taken on a couple of different forms, but currently serves to elevate worship where these young people offer their voices to help us remember that no matter what age you are, you can make a difference in this community. Whether it’s planning worship, working with congregants, scoring music, creating vocal tracks, voice coaching, working one-on-one with my groups, recording prayers or meditations, taking choirs out on marches or singing at different venues, Middle provides an amazingly diverse atmosphere to grow one’s gifts and graces. 

I am originally from San Antonio, Texas and have been a native New Yorker for the past 31 years. I love the energy of the city as well as the diversity that holds the key to what brought me here in the first place. I am a bit of a foodie and enjoy a good home cooked meal. I do enjoy chocolate making as well, when the weather is cool.  I have a cat, his name is Kitty. Is that so wrong?

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Nathan Johnson (he/him)

Director of Data, Systems and Congregational Connections

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Nathan Johnson (he/him)

Director of Data, Systems and Congregational Connections

Nathaniel Johnson is the Director of Data, Systems and Congregational Connections at the Middle Collegiate Church, a multiracial, multicultural, and inclusive congregation in New York City.

As a Director of Data and Systems, Nathaniel constantly works on new ways to determine how Middle Collegiate’s database can create care experiences that are specific to each member and draws people in from the margins.
Prior to joining Middle Collegiate Church, Nathaniel’s career trajectory was fueled by the basic tenet of customer service. This core belief led to many conversations with the Senior Minister Rev. Jacqui Lewis on how to provide congregational care and connection whether you are in the East Village or France. Nathaniel was responsible for the collaboration with the executive clergy team to roll out some of the following care products; birthday and anniversary automated communiques, issuing of grief booklets, phone prayer portal, virtual care cards, etc.

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Ellen Matlach (she/her)

Director of Senior Ministry

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Ellen Matlach (she/her)

Director of Senior Ministry

Ellen Matlach provides key strategic and administrative support to Senior Minister Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis in the administration and operation of Middle Church, especially in the areas of public theology and worship. For inquiries about baptisms and weddings at Middle Church, contact Ellen for answers to your questions and to help you schedule your special celebration.

Email Ellen Matlach (she/her)
Jeff Berman (he/him)

Director of Media Production

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Jeff Berman (he/him)

Director of Media Production

Jeff Berman is Director of Media Production at Middle Church, where he creates digital content to share Middle’s vision of love and justice in the world. You can find him behind the camera filming, mixing audio, or in the editing room, supporting Middle’s revolutionary art. Jeff also co-produces and livestreams virtual worship celebrations, helping to shape how Middle embraces our global family through worship.
 
Alongside his work in media, Jeff is a musician and composer, and makes work that amplifies the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. His background in ethnomusicology underscores his desire to tell stories about our individual and collective experiences of community, culture, and spirit. Jeff practices Zen Buddhism and is lay-ordained in the White Plum Asanga.

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Devon Mosley (he/him)

Director of Development: Middle Rising

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Devon Mosley (he/him)

Director of Development: Middle Rising

Devon Mosley serves as Director of Development: Middle Rising to support the stewardship and fundraising efforts of Middle. A commitment to social justice combined with his decades long experience as a marketing consultant makes this a dream role. He holds a B.S. from Boston University and a certification in Entrepreneurship from The Wharton School.

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Gloria Moy (she/her)

Staff Liaison to Butterfly

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Gloria Moy (she/her)

Staff Liaison to Butterfly

In this role, I helped facilitate the feeding ministry and fill in as needed. I currrenty host the Dinner Party which is held on Sunday evening at 7pm. I have been coming to Middle for 22 years. When I was younger (high school) I dreamed of living in the mountains, Thank you John Denver. And my favoriite dim sum place is Dim Sum GoGo.

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Alesha Borbo Kilayko (she/they)

Children’s Education Instructor

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Alesha Borbo Kilayko (she/they)

Children’s Education Instructor

Every Sunday, I teach Christian Bible stories to kiddos aged 5 to 10. I develop lesson plans that dismantle Western Eurocentric colonialist understandings of Christian faith and amplify the multiethnic, queer theologies of radical social justice work. And while I develop these lessons in ways that are developmentally accessible to the young ones, that sort of stuff might fly over their heads a bit—because another focal point of our lessons is to have FUN!  How wonderful it is to learn about God’s revolutionary love through storytelling, play, and imagination! It is always my intention to nurture Kids’ Enrichment as a space for the kiddos to explore their faiths and lives with curiosity, compassion, and joy.

My teaching inspiration is, no joke, Dewey Finn from the movie School of Rock as portrayed by Jack Black. When I was a socially awkward, extremely quiet kid, I thought it was so. cool. how real and caring Dewey was with his students. He saw them as kids, but that didn’t mean that he saw them as incapable of understanding life. He sees their skills, he sees their struggles, he sees them as they are and says to them, “Hey, you’re rad, and I’ll do everything I can to make sure you realize that about yourself.” 

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Tami Petty (she/her)

Music Director: Middle Church Choir

Allison Sniffin (she/her)

Organist

Elders (Church Governing Body)

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis (she/her)
Ivan Anderson (he/him)
Vickie Burns (she/her)
Pete Grenfell (he/him)
Darren Johnston (he/him)

Chair

Gerald Lazore (he/him)
Hadaryah Morgan (she/her)
Claudia Slacik (she/her)
Shanta Thake-Kriegsmann (she/her)
Tom Smucker (he/him)

Intersections

Deacons (Our Care Team)

Edna Benitez (she/her)
Deborah Berg McCarthy (she/her)
Thelma Boyiri (she/her)
Pamela Edgar (she/her)
Beth Ellor (she/her)
Kelly Smith (she/her)
Dennis Barton (he/him)

Local Deacons (Our Care Team)

Linda Doria (she/her)
Johanna Goepel (she/her)
Vincent Parham (he/him)
Sandra Santana (she/her)
Kaede Z. Helck (she/her)
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS

Sundays

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM


Mondays – Fridays

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Due to the fire, our physical facility is closed until further notice. But no fire can stop revolutionary love! Visit our event calendar for all the ways you can join us.

MAP & DIRECTIONS

112 Second Avenue
(Between 6th & 7th Streets) | New York, NY 10003

Join

Do you yearn to not just belong, but be celebrated for exactly who you are? Do you want a community of folks committed to radical love and justice? Wherever you live, you can call Middle Church home.

Give

This movement needs you! We need your time and talent, but we also need your resources. Make a contribution today and help us be midwives to love and justice.

December 5, 2020

A six-alarm fire spread from the building next door and destroyed our beautiful sanctuary. And yet, no fire can stop revolutionary love! Learn how we’re rising from the ashes and what you can do to help.

Find Your People!

Middle hosts small groups for everything from beginning ukulele lessons, Queer Black Men in the Middle or our Voting Reform team. And all of them have options to gather virtually! Join the groups that best fit your passion and the love you want to offer the world.

Liberative Learning

How do you change the world? First, you change yourself. Part of how we fulfill our commitment to God’s gospel of liberation is by training leaders with the skills you’ll need to bring freedom wherever you go. Thousands have participated in our digital courses. Will join them?

What We Believe

Middle is on a mission to reclaim and reframe Christianity—to realign our faith with Jesus’ teaching and take it back from the folks who have stolen it. We do this work joyfully, fueled by the Spirit, and strengthened by the community we create with one another.

Celebrate LOVE with Us!

Middle’s worship is a joyful, diverse celebration that gives a taste of what heaven feels like—an experience to soothe your soul and fill you with God’s liberatory fire! Every week is different, but what remains constant is how we tell the story of love through transformative art.

Do Justice

Faith comes alive when our love radiates outwards. At Middle, we’re committed to building an intersectional movement that both addresses the particular needs of different communities and unites us in common solidarity. This is God’s work, and we hope you’ll join us in it.