No Lights No Lycra

The Coolest Church in Greenpoint: An Interview with Pastor Amy of the Park Church Co-op

Pastor Amy Kienzle at the Park Church Co-Op. All photos by Ian Hartsoe.
Pastor Amy Kienzle at the Park Church Co-Op. All photos by Ian Hartsoe.

Judgment-free dance parties. Concerts. Farmers Markets. Storytelling Events. It might sound like Greenpoint just got a sweet new venue, but actually, all these events take place at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street), which is hands down the coolest church in Greenpoint. In 2015, the Park Church Co-op emerged out of what had been Messiah Lutheran Church, opposite McGolrick Park. At that time, Greenpointers sat down with Pastor Amy Kienzle, to learn more about the shifting nature of the congregation on Russell Street, and the Co-op’s open, community oriented approach to spirituality. I sat down with Pastor Amy last week to find out how the Co-Op has grown into one of the most exciting community spaces in the neighborhood.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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A Q&A With Greenpoint’s Post-Denominational Pastor

kienzle

In its days as the Lutheran Church of the Messiah, the Russell Street fixture was already veering toward a looser interpretation of spirituality. It provided a haven for traditional religious services as much as it accommodated some of the more off-beat tastes of its neighbors, who helped make things like “Punk Rope” and “No Lights No Lycra” a well-known part of Greenpoint life.

Now, membership is open to anyone of any religious persuasion (including all you atheists), making Greenpoint look way ahead of Pope Francis as he graces our city today to promote tolerance and inclusivity. No longer exactly a church, but the “Park Church Co-op,” it stands as a reminder that though religion is beginning to embrace progressive ideals in a much more public way, the movement has been well underway thanks to some of the more low-profile leaders like Pastor Amy Kienzle.

Kienzle officially rebranded the church in June in a move that was largely a response to our changing demographic, even though not all members necessarily welcomed the shift. That said, the future looks bright for Kienzle and her growing community.

With this in mind, Greenpointers sat down with Pastor Amy to get the scoop about all the exciting programs her church is offering to the community these days.

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East River Fireworks Comeback, No Lights No Lycra, Great Kölsch-Off – What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (7/02–7/08)

There are more events in our weekly calendarSubmit Greenpoint events, too!

WEDNESDAY 7/02
♥ The Great Reissdorf Kölsch-Off @ The Diamond (43 Franklin St) 8pm, FREE, Watch bartenders compete to see who can pour the fastest Kranz and enjoy all the complimentary Kölsch, More info
* Stargazing with the Tipi Project @ Havemeyer Park (South 4th btw Kent & Wythe) 8pm, FREE, See the stars from the park with members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, More info
* House of Screwball’s Circus of Dreams
@ Bizarre Bushwick (12 Jefferson St) 9pm, $5–$15, Acrobats, magicians, burlesque, and more, RSVP Continue reading

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No Lights No Lycra Dance Jam Tonight!

Tonight marks the launch of a weekly dance jam called No Lights No Lycra.

It takes place inside a dimly lit church where attendants are encouraged to do nothing but dance in the dark. It’s an ingenious alternative to dancing in clubs where intoxicated douchebags come aplenty and shorts skirts and heels make for an eyesore. Nothing will come between you and your beats. Ladies won’t be accosted by an ugly drunk fellow as there is neither alcohol or enough lighting to actually see each other. And men won’t feel the pressure to tap their wallets to get a girl to dance with them for the same reasons stated above.

Creepily but awesomely enough, this is a pure and spiritual experience, releasing that urge to shake and doing it without dealing with the social nuances of dancing in public. I’m personally super stoked about this as it allows me to do what I do at home alone, fist pumping and booty shaking with complete freedom, but with better sound and music and within a community of fellow dance freaks.

Can’t wait!

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