The Rev. Dr. Greg Stovell

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)
Organization: The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York

I was born in Mexico and raised between Mexico City and London, England. My educational background is in Electronic Engineering and Telecommunications (form Mexico) and a bachelor’s’ in Math from the University of Dubuque. My M.Div is from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and my D.Min is in Preaching from McCormick Theological Seminary. My doctoral thesis is a study on the techniques of today’s best storytellers (film directors) and the application of those techniques in the art of preparing a sermon.

I was ordained in 2001. My candidacy Sunday in Caldwell, NJ was the first Sunday after 9-11-2001, which made a very strange but fruitful beginning to my ministry. Since then, I have served congregations in Caldwell, NJ, Belleville, IL, West Chester, PA and now First Presbyterian NYC (since September 2020).

I started serving First Church NYC in the middle of the pandemic, a few months after New York City went “on pause.” The city and streets were empty when I moved in. And the church was obviously closed. I didn’t meet anyone in person for ab0out 8 months (till we opened on Pentecost) and was basically an online pastor to a congregation I didn’t know. It is by far the most difficult thing I’ve encountered in 20+ years of ordained ministry. That said, I took advantage of my tech-background and installed a full streaming studio in the sanctuary, running 5 remote cameras, a live editor, and 3 miles of cables. This really helped out congregation to stay connected until we opened again.

Our church is a strong congregation serving in a very exciting context. Our numbers in both attendance and giving are back to what they were before the pandemic. First Church (as we call it affectionally, as it was the first church chartered in the city after the revolution) is 307 years old, and is known for it’s history of excellence in worship, music, preaching and a strong commitment to mission and social justice. Last year we celebrated the centennial of Harry Emerson Fosdick’s sermon “Shall the Fundamentalist Win?” preached from this pulpit.

Our congregation identifies as very progressive. Our governance structure is divided into action groups such as LGTBQ, Facing Racism, Earth Care, Elder Care, Eradicating Poverty and Immigration and Refugee ministries. The recent crisis of hospitality to Migrants and Refugees in NYC has created both a challenge and good conversations about our role as a church to serve and welcome them to this city. It is a very difficult challenge to address, and yet we recognize it presents very exciting opportunities. Inclusivity and full participation/ hospitality, especially of the LGTBQ community have been the staples and identity of our ministry for many years.

Personal background: My wife (Susie) and I were married 25 years ago. We have 2 grown children: Susie (yes - same name) who is studying Art Conservation at the University of Delaware and our son Harry who is studying film here in the city. I used to be an avid golfer before moving to New York City, and since I picked up “speedcubing” as a competitive “sport.”

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Greg Stovell

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Tuesday January 02, 2024
Do we even remember there is a Spirit of God aside from our reciting our creeds? “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.” “I believe in the Holy Ghost…” Do we? Do we even remember the Spirit of God beyond the creed? And if so, I argue we often tend to forget that the Spirit of God is more than a line in our credal statements and more than a line in our end-of-worship benedictions. We tend to forget that the Spirit of God is, to put it bluntly…very disruptive. Incredibly disruptive!