What's more exhausting than maintaining facades & trying to fit in to something inauthentic? Here, we don’t pretend and we won't judge. Come as you are & be as you are because authenticity is core to liberation!
We welcome, celebrate & validate all siblings. We reject hierarchy and systems of domination that privilege others over race, class, ability, etc. We affirm the worth and worthiness of all our siblings. Everyone has a place here.
We seek to co-create an alternative economy: one of mutual aid, sharing & distributing according to need. We're anti-capitalist, we reject scarcity and we resist inequity. Here, we're bound together with abundance and through sharing.
While caught in inescapable networks of mutuality, each of us knows what it's like to feel disconnected & isolated. Said simply: life is harder lived alone & we believe healing comes through leaning into our mutual interdependence.
We're struck by the unique and manifold ways each human embodies creativity! We believe healthy community finds unity through diversity and reminds us how essential each of us are to a bigger story. So here, power is decentralized and leadership is shared, because we believe we're best when we work together!
We promote practices that help life flourish. For us, these practices extend to humankind, Mother Earth and all the lives that depends on her. As stewards of life and land, we seek to disrupt the systems of oppression and dismantle the constructs of exploitation and extraction that cause destruction. This is how we care for each other!
Our gatherings begin with centering the community on our creed, and recommitting ourselves to the work we've been called into. So toward solidarity, mutuality and comradery, let us remember:
We Celebrate Queerness, because God sees each of us in our fullness & there's room for us all. Whatever our pronouns, whoever and & however we love - the God of love celebrates you, and so we do too. We all belong here.
We Pursue LIbERATION, because none are free until all are free. We seek to dismantle supremacy culture & abolish systems of inequity. No citizenship is denied or delayed in God's Kin-dom, so we insist on the same here & now. All must have a seat at the table.
We practice generosity, because God is generous with us. Our debt, earning potential or market value in this immoral economy says nothing of our worth & value in God's family. Indebted, debt-free or anything else: we share resources & care of each other.
We cultivate diversity, because each of us bears the image of God & each of us are on our own spiritual journey. Zealot, skeptic, seeker or something else: we're committed to traveling together, we're excited to learn from each other & we know God is with us.
In response to the unyielding, unending love of God, let us see one another as God sees us & let us love one another as God loves us!
Besides her work at Common Ground, Chantilly is an ordained minister, musician, artist and faith educator. For the last ten years, her ministry 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 people of faith. 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 worship culture, implement authentic practices of spiritual formation and help us continue to be a community of 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 deconstruct & decolonize faith. He's energized by communities like this that address and heal from the layers of inequity shaping supremacy culture, perpetuating harm & causing 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 to join CG and help shape a worship culture for post-Evangelicals that includes everyone in the process.
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 Christ has 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 the church planting initiative of the PCUSA denomination. Part of the the goal for 1001 is to plant more LGBTQIA+ celebrating, justice-focused, Christ-rooted churches 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 Christian congregations - 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 church, the denomination is a financial supporter of CG and our organizing pastor, Chris Romine, is an ordained minister through them.
W/ is a collective of Christian faith leaders & community leaders united to support the manifold ministries of progressive Christianity. While many from W/ come from an Evangelical heritage, most have deconstructed, or are in the process of deconstructing and reconstructing their Christian faith. W/ is a growing space for relationship building, collaboration and critical thinking around matters race, gender and justice - and the ways each intersects faith.