Worship with us Sundays at 11 - Venga a adorar con nosotros los domingos a las 11

Our Pastors

The Rev. Kaji Douša, Senior Pastor

info@parkavenuechristian.com

The Rev. Kaji Spellman Douša is Senior Pastor of the Park. In the congregation’s 206 years, she is the first woman called to this role.

About her public witness, Pastor Kaji says: “I’m realizing that it’s time for the church to repent. We’ve let the name of Jesus get away from us, get misused, twisted and turned into something unrecognizable by the religious right. In the meantime, how many generations of people are being harmed by oppressive teachings from church? All because those of us who knew better have been too afraid to stand up, or we’ve been ineffective in spreading a message of liberation. That day is over. There are lives at stake, for God’s sake.”

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and of Yale University, Pastor Kaji is a prolific writer and a celebrated and awarded public speaker. She preaches nearly every Sunday at The Park and is invited as a keynote speaker across the country. Her often fiery media appearances reflect her deep thinking, faithful perspective and quick wit. She is on the editorial board for the United Church of Christ’s Stillspeaking Writer’s Group and the Alumni Board of Yale Divinity School.

Before entering the ministry, Kaji developed new products for a large financial services company on Wall Street. She also has a political background, having managed and staffed several successful campaigns.

The Reverend Douša’s Sermons

The Rev. Sydney Avent, Esq., Pastor for Social Justice and Worship Life

Savent@parkavenuechristian.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luis-AlfredoCartegenaRev. Luis Alfredo Cartagena, Pastor for Outreach

lacartagena@parkavenuechristian.com

Rev. Cartagena Zayas holds a B.A. from City College New York, a M.Div. from New York Theological Seminary where he received the President Award in Ministry, and is a Micah D. Min. candidate at New York Theological Seminary.

At The Park Rev. Cartagena Zayas serves as the Pastoral Presence each week for the Saturday Community Lunch Program, a Greeter, a Translator for Immigration Clinics, is a member of the Hospitality & Fellowship Team and the Prayer Team.

In his role as Outreach Pastor he serves on the Jeremiah Leadership Council, NY/NJ Crop Hunger Walk and the Micah Institute. An activist he participates in many actions dealing with Housing Justice, a Living Wage, the elimination of Racism, Poverty & Hunger, LGBTQ, Transgender Justice, Immigration Issues and National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day.

He serves on the Northeastern Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Team, the Northeastern Regional Response Team, and is the co-Moderator for the Northeastern Region for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Along with serving the congregation of The Park, Rev. Cartagena Zayas is the Director of the Modern Languages Language Laboratory at the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY for the past thirty years, is a member of the LGBTQ Month Committee as well as  the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee.

 

Qadry Harris, Pastoral Intern

qharris@parkavenuechristian.com

Qadry Paul Harris was born and raised in Mount Vernon, NY. He now resides in the Bronx, NY, which he considers his second home town. Qadry is a 2014 graduate of Pace University, Pleasantville, NY. As a dual major in philosophy and religious studies, his undergraduate capstone focused on the tension between Christian faith and philosophical reason. He graduated with Magna Cum Laude Latin honors and received an award for being the top student in his major. Qadry is currently a student as Yale University’s Divinity School, pursuing a masters of divinity degree. His research and ministerial interest engage the intersections of black church studies, liberation theologies, and Christian ethics. Qadry is seeking ordination in the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Kendell, Pastoral Resident

The Rev. Stephanie Kendell is the Pastoral Resident at the Park. She is a recent Master of Divinity graduate from Brite Divinity School, where she served as the 2016-2017 Student Moderator. Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Stephanie is passionate about justice seeking ministries that aid in the value of intersectional perspectives.
Stephanie is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area where she continues to be an avid supporter the local sports teams. In 2005, she graduated with a degree in Musical Theater and Theater Arts from the University of Redlands.
Before her call to Ordained ministry, Stephanie was a Producer and Head of Operations for an international theatrical marketing agency based in Los Angeles.

 

Ismael SanchezThe Rev. Ismael Sánchez, Pastor for Latino Ministry

isanchez@parkavenuechristian.com    

The Rev. Ismael Sánchez was born in Nicaragua where he completed a degree in Economics with a concentration in Political Economy
and taught at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua. He came to the United States in 1983 and in 1990 he completed his Master of Divinity degree at Houston Graduate School of Theology with a concentration in Urban Ministry. That same year he was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Rev. Sánchez served as pastor developer of two new Latino church starts (Disciples of Christ) in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas. The Rev. Sánchez was also the pastor developer of a new Latino congregation in Marietta, Georgia for the Episcopal Church. During his ministry he founded three adult education centers offering English as a Second Language (ESL), Spanish as a Second Language (SSL), and a GED program.

Rev. Sánchez served as the Director of the Borderlands Center at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, which offered a national Spanish-language program of continuing theological education for ministers already working in congregations. He has also worked as a consultant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA in the area of urban ministries and leadership development.

Rev. Sánchez currently serves as Associate Pastor for Latino Ministries at Park Avenue Christian Church where he is working to create a holistic Latino worship community that can embrace diversity with a spirit of hospitality. He wants this new Latino ministry to reflect the stated mission of The Park, “to share the radical welcome of Jesus so that all people can experience, celebrate and spread the big, bold, beautiful and bodacious love of God.

Rev. Sánchez is married to the Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado who serves as professor of Modern Church History at Union Theological Seminary in NYC.

 

Klay S. Williams, Facilitator, Speak

kwilliams@parkavenuechristian.com

Led by Klay S. Williams, The Gathering is a holistic group of young adults interested in creating spiritual pathways to develop/nourish one’s purpose, build community and discovery of wellness practices to live an empowered life.

Curated by Pastor Kaji & Klay, the next program series, Speak, is a space where weekly participants will gather and share intimate personal stories of faith, gratitude, struggle, healing and spiritual exploration. Under the spirit of thoughtful live music, we will share in the lived experiences that connects our faith journey through the power of story.  The first night of Speak began on June 15, 2017 at 7 PM and will continue every Thursday until August 17 at The Manse.  For more information, please contact Klay.

Klay S. Williams is an author, holistic lifestyle expert and media personality specializing in holistic personal and professional development. Klay has created a lifestyle-consulting firm, Plan A Enterprises, LLC that is a one-stop-shop for the entire person. Whether he is leading a conversation on spiritual progression of the self, supporting clients with closing the gap between their past and present or having a full service image/wellness conversation, it all points towards living what Klay calls, one’s “Plan A”.  He  is the author of There Is Only Plan A— A Journey Toward Self- Discovery and Renewed Purpose and 365 Plan A Nightly Meditations.  A graduate of Kalamazoo College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a double minor in Economics and Business, he also holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.   Klay has appeared/partnered with a host of media platforms, including but not limited to: Fox 5 NY, fyi, NPR, iHeart Radio, Lululemon and ABC.   For more information on Klay, visit: KlaySWilliams.com