Now that the NFL’s most devout Christian is officially headed to our fair temptress of a city, Daily Intel got to wondering: where will Tim Tebow worship the Lord off the field? He’s evangelical, of course, but his exact church affiliations are surprisingly difficult to nail down. So we turned to Tony Carnes, a longtime religion reporter — and founder of nycreligion.info, a group that is mapping out every one of the city’s churches — for a walking tour of Manhattan’s houses of worship. By his estimation, there are at least 200 evangelical church just south of 125th Street, with probably an equal number north of it. We don’t yet know where Tebow is going to live, of course, and he’ll probably want something convenient to home, so below, Carnes’s suggestions, arranged geographically.
Upper East Side:
- Manhattan Church of Christ on East 80th Street. Tebow’s attended the Church of Christ before .
- Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s space at Hunter College on East 69th Street, the biggest evangelical megachurch in Manhattan, and where Jeremy Lin has been spotted.
- First Reformed Episcopal Church near the UN, also evangelical.
Teens and Twenties:
- Hillsong, a buzzy, mostly youth-filled church known for its rock-style musical worship at Irving Plaza, just off Union Square. “They are practically packed out, so even he’d have to get a reservation,” Carnes says. (When Carnes visited recently, he estimated there were as many as 4,000 worshippers present.)
- Forefront Church at 22nd and Broadway. It’s much smaller, but it’s Southern Baptist, and so might feel like home, since Tebow was raised in a Baptist church in Jacksonville, Florida.
- Heritage Baptist Church on West 25th Street.
- Communitas on 24th Street. “Their only requirement is that people should be involved in helping out their community, particularly the poor,” Carnes explains.
- Remnant Presbyterian Church on East 29th Street.
- Trinity Grace Church, in Chelsea, led by Pastor Jon Tyson, considered one of the best new preachers in the city. There are also several churches in the area that double as art galleries, if Tebow is interested in picking up a little New York culture on the side.
Below 14th Street:
- In the East Village he could go to Graffiti Church, which ministers to the homeless.
- There’s also a flash-mob church in the Village, Carnes explains, where you get a text telling you where the services are going to be. Kind of like calling an audible.
- If he wants something a little more stereotypically Evangelical downtown, there’s Lower Manhattan Community Church in Tribeca, which was inspired by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church.
- Coming back up the West Side, there’s the Redeemer-affiliated Village Church on Hudson Street. If Tebow develops a taste for the Meatpacking District, it could be a convenient Sunday morning stop after a big Saturday night out.
Midtown West/Upper West Side:
- If he wants to feel like a tourist in his new town: Times Square Church, a megachurch with between 2,000 and 4,000 members.
- Or if he wants a quick exit from the city, there’s Journey Church, which now meets in the Hotel Pennsylvania near Penn Station.
- Further up the West Side, there’s a cluster around Redeemer’s new West 83rd Street building and All Angels Episcopal, an evangelical church specializing in serving the homeless.
- Harvard-educated Pastor Dennis Henderson’s Harlem Grace Tabernacle, at 256 West 145th Street, which Carnes characterizes as “learned preaching with a practical mix.”
- The famous Abyssinian Baptist Church at 132 West 138 Street, one of oldest churches in Harlem (and widely known for its gospel choir). Tourists often like to combine it with a trip to Sylvia’s for brunch — perhaps recent transplant Tebow might as well?
We didn’t include the other boroughs because, well, we can’t quite picture Tebow hanging out in, say, Williamsburg. But if Tebow is thinking of living closer to the Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey, Carnes had a few thoughts on that as well. For one thing, there’s Pastor Terry Smith’s Life Christian Church in West Orange. “A lot of athletes go out there,” he says, so there’d be a built-in community of sorts for Tebow. As for Rutherford, there are at least five evangelical churches there, such as Living Gospel Baptist Church.
Pleasant church-hopping, Tim!