In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Worship in New York

It's my first Sunday in New York, and I'm faced with a dilemma: Where to go to church?

When I first told people I was moving, I got this question. People asked me if I was going to worship at a Lutheran church or switch (I'm staying Lutheran). I even got lobbied by a few pastors to worship at their church. It was sort of fun.

I can name four churches where I have good relationships with a number of people in the congregation. All of these would be great places to worship, an they are pretty distinct from one another. Here they are, in alphabetical order (so that I do not show any preference):

Advent: I know one of the pastors (Barbara Lundblad, who also teaches at Union Theological Seminary). I met the senior pastor a few months ago, and she seems lovely. I also know a number of the congregation members, because they have worked with my last job at Lutherans Concerned.

Holy Trinity: I have worshiped here before. The former pastor is now the Bishop of the Metro New York Synod. The new pastor moved to New York from Minneapolis (to take this job). Very high liturgy. They do Bach vespers on many Sunday evenings.

St. Peter: My friend is an intern there (soon to be ordained). He has introduced me to a lot of other cool people in the congregation. This church sold its airspace to CitiBank, so the church is incorporated into the CitiBank building. I like to call it St. Peter's of Citibank. Also high liturgy.

Trinity: Many years ago, I hired the pastor of this congregation to be a keynote speaker at Gather Us In. This church runs a homeless shelter for LGBT youth. I also confess that I got my apartment through a few members of this congregation, so I feel a debt of gratitude.

I'm sure over time, I'll try all of these congregations. On this particular day, there is another consideration. I'm getting on a train to go to DC at 11:00, so I looked at the church web sites to see where I could worship before going to the train. Holy Trinity and Trinity were eliminated because they only have 11 AM worship services.

And...I'm still staying with my friend. And Advent is very close to her house. Advent is also close to the subway that can get me to Penn Station the quickest. So...Advent Lutheran is the winner for this Sunday.

But don't worry, I'll be getting around. It's also possible that I'll find another church that is lovely that is close to where I live (when I start staying in my apartment). The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

First Saturday in New York

It's my first Saturday in New York, and I'm going to be busy. I'm moving a lot of my stuff to our new apartment in Harlem. I've been staying with friends since I got here, and I signed a lease on Tuesday, but I haven't been able to move or deal with the apartment much else since I got here (I never recommend starting a job the day after you move to a city).

Now I'll finalize measurements, with the help of Richard. I will turn the utility bills over to me. I'll also do my "walk through" and point out any problems or issues, so I don't get billed for them when Richard and I move out. We are used to doing this for our tenants, so it's interesting to be on the other side.

I have a busy week with a lot of travel. I'm going to DC for the HRC Clergy Call until Wednesday morning. Then on Thursday, I leave for Minnesota for our going away party/garage sale. You are ALL invited!

Hopefully, I'll get to take a walk or something on this pleasant Saturday. My hosts live quite close to Central Park, and I'll like to stroll there. Maybe after my work gets done.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quick Morning Check In

I feel like I have so many stories, but I'm overwhelmed with stuff to do. I've found that evenings go very quickly in New York. People work later in the day, and even one errand might not get you home until 9:00. I thought I would be talking to Richard every night, but it's often been too late for me or him. We are still in contact, but not doing the Skype thing all the time. Maybe Saturday.

Here's the upside. I signed a lease on an apartment. I'm not living there just yet. I'm staying with friends. However, it's a 2-bedroom in Harlem. I thought for a while it was in a neighborhood called Hamilton Heights, but I was informed last night that we are in Harlem. I got this place through a friend of a friend of a friend. But last night I actually met her in person, so now I can call her a direct friend. The apartment is with her property management company and around the corner from her building.

The pluses of the place: 2-bedrooms, under $1500/month. Huge windows. Back of the building, so no street noise.

Drawbacks: 1st floor (both for light and for safety...which might make those huge windows a liability). I'm told there is some drug dealing on my corner, but I haven't seen it yet. The bedrooms are oddly shaped.

Actually, I haven't been to my apartment in the daylight yet, so I don't know what the natural light situation is. It's always been after dark. Our (new) friend was there in the morning, and she said that it was more light than she expected.

It is just one more step in my process to relocate here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

St. Louis: The Pit Stop to NYC

I’m working on this blog post at the St. Louis airport (or, I was and finally got it posted today). When I booked my flight that would move me from Minneapolis to New York City, this was the least expensive option, and I’m still cheap, so I went fo rit. I wasn’t pleased about not having a direct flight, but this was about half as much as the other flights. Plus, I used credit card points to get a membership in the Sky Lounge. It’s a place with comfey chairs, food and beverages (adult beverages!) and dedicated people to helping you out. Yes, it’s a little elisist, but I’ve really apprecaited having a place to check email (wifi is also included), and spend less on food when a snack will do. So, I figured that I could handle this flight.

I was starting plan out my first day in NYC. My flight was scheduled to leave Minneapolis at 7:00 AM. I was going to travel with three rolling suitcases and one carry-on. Mostly clothes. I have a friend’s place to stay with, and I have secured an apartment of my own. My plan was to go to my friends place to drop off my luggage, then go so I can actually see this apartment that I’ve supposedly rented. It was cutting it too close to do the lease signing today, so I was going to view it today and sign the lease tomorrow.

When we were about to baord in Minneapolis, I was called up to the podium. The gate agent asked me if I would be willing to be rebooked on a direct flight to New York in exchange for a $300 travel voucher. I asked what would happen to my luggage. She said that since they were instigating it, they would deliver my luggage to me in New York. It sounded like a perfect opportunity, so I said yes. She had me wait, because she might not actually need to bump me. After a few minutes, she said that she didn’t need to rebook me, so I was stuck back on my original itenerary. So I boarded a plane to St. Louis.

In St. Louis, I had a 3 hour layover. Because of my Sky Lounge membership, I thought that I would be able to relax and get free food (and drink?). After landing, I learned that there was no Sky Lounge at the St. Louis airport (at least, not in the terminal that I was in). So, I was relegated to sitting at the gate. About an hour before my flight was to take off, I got an automated phone call that told me that my St. Louis-New York flight was cancelled.

CANCELLED! (I just reprated it for emphasis)

So now, my somewhat long layover in St. Louis has been extended. I have been rebooked on another flight today, but I’m not sure I’m going to be in New York in time to see my apartment. If it works, I will. However, now it might have to be something that happens tomorrow morning. I also made my first day of work tomorrow, so I’m kicking myself for making such a tight turnaround.

Hopefully, I’ll get to my new home in New York soon. And hopefully I won’t resent St. Louis so much the next time I’m there.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


After more than a year of a break from this blog, I just might be ready to launch it again. I'm not quite sure yet if this is going to stick or not. I really would like to keep blogging, but it's not like my life got any easier over the last year. If anything, my life has gotten more complicated.

However, that's one of the reasons that I would like to revive this blog. I have a new job, and it requires a move to a new city. I'm now taking a job with a major GLBT organization, and I'm relocating to New York City. I have to say that I'm pretty excited. I've fantasized about living in NYC for years. I think that after a while I thought that it would remain a fantasy. However, this job opportunity opened up, and here I am...getting ready to move...quickly.

I leave a week from tomorrow. The plan is that I'm going to go and get started and Richard is going to join me at the end of the summer. He is going to finish his contract and get the house ready to be rented out before he comes to NYC. I'm going to try to support him long-distance, as much as I can. This is one of those things that will great once it's done, but the transition is going to be really stressful (really). Pray for him and for me as we try to navigate this move in tiers.

You might think that having a cushy new job in NYC might be great enough, but I've also already got an apartment. A 2-bedroom in Harlem/Washington Heights. I scored this place without even having to visit. My lease signing is the day after I get there. I'm still going to stay with friends, mostly because I won't have any furniture.

The really interesting part about this is that I used to read a lot of blogs from people that lived in NYC. I think that most of these blogs have shut down, and most of these people have moved away from NYC. Now I'm starting my own NYC adventure.

That's why I want to start this blog up again. I'm sure I'm going to have a ton of experiences that I want to share with someone. I'm sure there are some family and friends who want to know about this experience. Facebook is good for some of this, but I also want to process. I want to write. I want to put more thought into what I say than into a Tweet (but you can follow me on Twitter @intlayterms).

So, I hope that whatever readers I have will come along on this journey with me. I'd love to have you. I can't promise that I'm going to great about updating this thing. I can't promise consistency of theme. I can't promise much on here. But I do want to see what comes of it.

So here's to a new adventure!