As we build toward radical friendship, what's more exhausting than having to create facades just to belong? Here, we don’t pretend & won't judge. Come as you are & be as you are, because authenticity is core to liberation!
As we build toward radical friendship, we welcome, celebrate & validate all. We reject hierarchy & systems of domination that privilege race, class, ability, etc. We affirm all siblings' inherent worth & everyone's got a place here.
As we build toward radical friendship, we co-create alternative economies of mutual aid, sharing & distributing according to need. As anti-capitalists, we reject scarcity & resist inequity. Here, we're bound together with abundance and through sharing.
As we practice radical friendship, we recognize the inescapable networks of mutuality. We know the feelings of disconnection & isolation and, said simply: we believe liberation comes through mutual interdependence.
As we practice radical friendship, we're struck by the unique and manifold ways each of us embody creativity! We believe healthy community finds unity through diversity and reminds us of a bigger story. So here, power is decentralized and leadership is shared, because we believe we're best when we work together!
As we practice radical friendship, we're determined to help life flourish: humankind, Mother Earth and all lives that depend on Her. As stewards of life & land, this is how we care for each other!
When we gather, our community grounds & centers itself on affirmations, so we can continuously recommit to the work of radical friendship we believe we've been called to. Toward that solidarity, mutuality and comradery, we remember to:
Celebrate Queerness, because The Divine sees each of us in our fullness. There's room for us all. Regardless of our pronouns, whomever and & however we love - the Source of Love celebrates you, and so we do too. We all belong here.
Pursue LIbERATION, because none are free until all are free. We identify & interrupt supremacy culture. We seek to abolish systems of inequity. No citizenship is denied or delayed in God's Kin-dom, so we insist the same here & now. All must have a seat at the table.
practice generosity, because Creator's generous with us. Our income status, debt and earning potential in this immoral capitalist market must not disrupt our kin-ship. Indebted, debt-free or anything else: we share resources & care for each other.
cultivate UNITY in diversity, because each of us bears the image of God & we're all on a spiritual journey. Zealot, skeptic, seeker or something else: we commit to traveling together, we excitedly learn from each other & we know The Divine is with us.
In response to the Creator that's revealed Divine Love to the world, we see one another as God sees us & love one another as God loves us!
Besides her work at Common Ground, Chantilly is an ordained minister, musician, artist and educator. For the last ten years, her work has focused on the inherent intersections of education, liturgy & social justice. She also leads anti-racist trainings, equity trainings & anti-oppression Bible studies. Chantilly is most passionate about the ways communities like Common Ground create space to awaken authenticity, enhance human connection and mobilize our creative, collective power. As a native Hawaiian, she moved to California to study at Pepperdine before moving to NYC to earn her MDiv from Union Theological. She graduated in 2011 & was subsequently ordained in the Disciples of Christ. Currently Chantilly is working to develop CG’s community culture, implement authentic practices of formation and liberation.
Chris was born, raised & spent most of his life in or around NYC. After college, he was living in Venezuela when a job brought him back to the area. It's that season when enough spiritual curiosity caused him to wander into a local church to explore faith. A few years later he was working for that church but in full crisis b/c he'd learned their stances on race, sexuality & gender were incompatible with his. Struck by the Jesus tradition but at odds with Evangelicalism, he spoke up about the toxic theology there, left the job, and enrolled in divinity school. A few years later he began organizing Common Ground as a space for spiritual exiles and folks seeking to decolonize their identities. He's animated & energized by communities seeking to heal from the layers of supremacy culture that have perpetuated harm & caused religious trauma. He hopes CG can be a space telling bigger stories & forging better paths.
Janay is a Dominican-New Yorker currently pursuing a MSW at Silberman & MDiv at Union. Weaving eco-mujerista theology & decolonized trauma therapy frameworks, Janay is passionate about how communities embody their ethics and interconnectedness. At CG she’s excited to co-create liturgy, decolonize pedagogy & investigate how la tierra y agua invite people into just & spiritual practices with Creator for a more equitable liberated world.
As a scholarship recruiter, Christian serves as an ambassador, cultivating & bridging relationships across a number of industries. As a proud convener of diversity, he's grounded in inclusion & optimism. At CG, he facilitates & integrates spaces for expression, creativity, and storytelling. He's also a passionate mentor, acapella vocal percussionist, and volleyball setter. Christian lives in Park Slope with his partner Nik & over 60 potted plants.
Sarah is a Brooklyn-based music educator & musician who's always learning new instruments. Originally from Long Island, Sarah came to NYC to study at NYU, then Columbia. She's passionate about equity and access in education, especially arts education, and has worked for numerous non-profits who share this vision. Sarah's excited help shape a culture at CG for recovering Evangelicals & Christians that brings everyone to the table.
As an educator in NYC, Angelo hopes to linguistically & culturally wrestle the “pluribus” out of “unum”. Moved on from spiritual spaces that weaponized faith to suppress (if not erase) identities, Angelo's here to assure our practices of community see, love & affirm all as equal in worth, without condition, because God's extended the same to us. He's excited to help round out the corners of this Common Ground table as hearts grow toward room for all to sit.
Rob is a leader & founding member of CG. His weekdays are spent at Spotify but the rest of his time is spent traveling, exploring the NYC food scene with his fiance Jocelyn, and reading about theology and spiritual practices. Rob's interest include community development, theology from the margins and the ways all religions can authentically, faithfully and ecumenically practice their faith in an increasingly secularized society.
When it comes to our affiliations and ties, we value transparency. We hope you do too! We believe it's important you know exactly who we are, who we partner with, and who supports us. Here are four primary organizations and networks we're linked to. Each is doing fantastic work in their particular spheres so we thought we'd let you know what they're up to. Check them out!
1001 New Worshipping Communities is an initiative of the PCUSA denomination that helps launch new communities of care. Part of the the goal for 1001NWC is to begin more queer-celebrating, justice-focused communities in America led by women, queer folx & people of color. 1001NWC has been a major supporter of Common Ground and, regardless of our future affiliation, they've helped us tremendously with strategy, partnership & grants.
Church Clarity is a crowd-sourced database of religious organizations - mostly for (allege) non-denom churches - scored by teams of volunteers based on how easy it is to find a church's Actively Enforced Policy online. It evaluates church websites for policies around leadership & participation that impact LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and women. Common Ground is both a partner & supporter of this work, because #clarityisreasonable.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination. Rooted in the Reformed tradition, the PCUSA is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, and is known for its demonstrable progressive positions on justice, gender, economy and race. Though Common Ground is not a PCUSA organization, the denomination is a financial supporter of CG and our organizer, Chris Romine, is an ordained through through them.
W/ is a collective of faith leaders & community leaders united to support the manifold ministries of progressive faith spaces. While many from W/ come from an Evangelical heritages, most have decolonized, or are in the process of decolonizing and reconstructing their faith orientations. W/ is a growing space for relationship building, collaboration and critical thinking around matters of race, gender and justice - and the ways each intersects.