Neither the Christian church in general nor its individual congregations exist for themselves alone. Of course, we serve our own members by offering worship, education, fellowship, and care. Throughout its history, when the church was being the community it was created to be, it reached out to those beyond its fellowship, both nearby and throughout the world. Such outreach simply imitates the way Jesus Christ lived and worked. The church dares to call itself “the body of Christ,” by which we mean that we try to be the corporal presence of the living Christ here and now. As Jesus consistently reached out to those in need, the sick, the poor, and the marginalized, the church lives up to its claim to be the presence of Jesus Christ in our time and place only as it faithfully imitates his way in the world.
The Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New York has a 240-year history of reaching out to the great city we call home as well as to the nation and world beyond. Over the centuries, Brick Church has reached beyond itself when it assisted in the education of the children of poor neighbors, supported immigrant congregations and settlement houses, and as its leaders spoke out against slavery and corruption.