PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS
“Christ has made us priests, a chosen and holy people, a people to serve God in love.” ~ Menno Simons, The True Christian Faith, 1556
We center our church life on the belief that we come together as a priesthood of believers. This commitment grows from our Anabaptist roots in the sixteenth-century Radical Reformation. We live this out in community in various ways:
- In terms of the organization and operation of our church, all congregants are invited to participate in our quarterly Congregational Life Meetings where we make decisions by the consensus of the gathered members.
- We believe that every person who comes through our doors may minister to our community in some way. We build our worship and fellowship around the people who gather every week, people who share the responsibilities of preaching, song leading, praying, service planning, and scripture reading. God speaks through all of us.
- As a non-hierarchical community, our pastor is a member of our congregation, a sibling in the faith who serves as an extension of our communal discernment. A committee of elders, who are appointed by the congregation, guide the pastor’s role as a leader in our community.
Conference minister: Ruth Yoder Wenger
Congregational chair: Nancy Benignus
Treasurer: Tim Kennel Shenk
Jason Storbakken (he/him) was ordained, in 2011, by the Mennonite Church, USA. In 2017, he was called to serve as pastor at Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship. He earned a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, and a Doctor of Ministry at Boston University School of Theology. Jason’s dissertation is entitled: “A Liberation Theology of Sabbath”. For more than 10 years, he has served as chapel director at The Bowery Mission where he provides pastoral care to the poorest and most vulnerable New Yorkers.
He is the husband to Vonetta and father to Chloe and Elgin. Vonetta is founder and executive director of Radical Living, a Brooklyn-based community organization that builds community around food, sustainable practices, and green spaces. And together they also serve on the leadership at Brooklyn Peace Center.
Jason draws inspiration from the mystics, the early Mothers and Fathers of the Church, poetry, and music from across faith traditions and cultures. He is author of three books:
- Radical Spirituality: Repentance, Resistance, Revolution (Orbis, 2014).
- Last Stop on the Z Train (Independently published, 2019)
- Bowery Mission: Grit and Grace on Manhattan’s Oldest Street (Plough, 2019), was published November 2019.