If you get off at the L train at Wilson Avenue this Easter Sunday and walk just a few blocks north, you’re likely to hear the strains of an evangelical megachurch pastor’s sermon — all the way from Oklahoma.
That’s because Easter is the first service for a new evangelical church in Bushwick, called Swerve, whose sermons will all be courtesy of a video-streamed service from an Oklahoma megachurch called LifeChurch.TV.
Life Church, which sends its video streams to “campuses” all over the country, is run by evangelical pastor Craig Groeschel, whose most recent book, Altar Ego, is based on the idea that “you aren’t who you think you are, you’re who God says you are.”
Swerve’s Easter service will take place at Cricket Manor, an event hall in Bushwick on Elder Street and Wilson Avenue. Walking past, you might also hear the strains of guitar, drums and bass, because Swerve Church plan to start all its sermons with rock music, or hip hop and DJs.
Bushwick native Danny Torres, who founded Swerve after working for years at an evangelical Christian school in Long Island City, said he felt called to “plant a new church, a different type of church” in the neighborhood because “Bushwick has changed so much.”
On Swerve’s website, which features images of graffiti, the New York skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, the church says it chose Brooklyn as its home for the borough’s diversity, and chose Bushwick in part because of its high poverty rate. “Cities are trend-setters and lead the way as far as shaping culture,” it also notes. “More and more, people are moving out of rural and suburban areas and into large cities like Brooklyn.
Torres says Swerve will start holding monthly church services in event spaces, art galleries, and schools after Easter Sunday. Eventually, he plans to find a permanent home for Swerve in Bushwick, where video-streamed services from Life Church will be shown weekly.