In New York people just know they’re sinners.

By Nicole Greenfield

“New York City is wide open to the Gospel,” Pastor Ron Lewis declared one Sunday at St. George’s Church, a neo-Romanesque building where his Morning Star New York congregation held its evening services until 2007. “There is a hunger for and a desire to experience God.”

Lewis peered through his frameless glasses at the hundreds before him. “Every day people are turning to Jesus,” he continued, much more slowly and with a smile revealing teeth that sparkled under the bright lights. “Every day.”

It was September 11th that brought Ron Lewis to New York City. Moved by how churches filled up “in the wake of tragedy,” as he puts it, Lewis hopped in a car two days later with Rice Broocks—a college friend Lewis met through his involvement with a charismatic, and controversial, campus ministry called Maranatha—and made the drive from North Carolina in order to take advantage of the city’s “spiritually opened hearts.” With the help of the larger Morningstar International organization, Broocks started the Morning Star New York church plant within weeks, while Lewis went back to Durham and committed to his own church, King’s Park International.

“Then one morning in June or July,” Lewis recalled, “I was in prayer and at 4:17, to be exact—the red letter clock said 4:17 am—I remember clearly hearing something on the inside of my soul saying that I needed to go serve in New York City.” He smiled and took an awkwardly long pause. “So I’ve been part of this community ever since.”

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