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Mosaic Manhattan Church helps
student find God, grow in Christ

NEW YORK (BP)–A multi-generational, ethnic rainbow of worshippers, Mosaic Manhattan Church, grew from the tragedies of 9/11 into the triumphs of today. Whether executive or ex-addict, the people to whom Mosaic ministers hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and become His disciples.

New York University senior Emily Moore is a member of Mosaic, a Southern Baptist church plant that meets in a dance studio a few blocks from Ground Zero.

Mild-mannered and modest, Moore once thought she knew who she really was. But that all changed when she met her friend, Christy — and Christ — at NYU.

Christy, who attended Mosaic, wasn’t the first person to talk to Moore about spiritual matters. A few years ago while on a spontaneous trip to Virginia Beach, Va., to visit a friend, she met a boy who “was the first person ever to talk to me about faith,” Moore said.

“He was saying all these things as a believer, and they really shook me because I didn’t have any kind of roots like that,” she recalled. “That made me ask a lot of questions.”

The questions and searching continued off and on until Moore enrolled at NYU.

“So I was in that first semester process, in New York City away from home, and the relationship [with the boy from Virginia] had ended,” Moore said. “That really threw me. It made me feel like I wasn’t a part of the [Christian pursuit] anymore or that I was even worthy of it.”

Confused, desperate and lonely, Moore told Baptist Press that she got on her knees and prayed, “‘Jesus, if You’re real, I want to know who You are.’”

Describing her life as “really fortressed” and unwilling to “let people in at all,” she did open up to Christy, another student in the dance department.

“I was talking to her, I mean, really talking to her for the first time, and she mentioned something about God,” said Moore, who only a month before had prayed on her knees.

“Christy took me to lunch and she shared the Gospel with me,” Moore recounted. “She told me about the Holy Spirit and how God can live through us. I’d never heard that before.”

Moore said she prayed “the second prayer of my entire life” — a simple prayer from the back page of a tract that Christy showed her.

“When I prayed to ask Jesus to live in my heart, all of this stuff just exploded in me. And I saw how He had been reaching out to me in a million moments from my past,” said Moore, who finally understood the source of love that had pursued her most of her life.

“As far as coming to believe, there was always a pursuit of love for me in motion. Love was pursuing me,” she said. “And you know, it still is happening. I still see God’s love everywhere, just reaching out.” Moore believes God wants her to let that love flow out of herself and on to others. “And to encourage it wherever I see it, also, to help bring it out.”

“Jesus healed me in an amazing way from stuff that had hurt me very deeply,” Moore said. “And He freed me to be relational with other people. That’s been quite a journey — being around people and seeing love in them and being able to give it back.”

Two years later, Moore still attends Mosaic because “I felt really welcome there. And that was pretty radical for me compared to my other church experience,” said Moore, who recalled attending a church as a fifth-grader and feeling “unwelcome and excluded.”

Moore describes her relationship with Christ as “expanding and growing,” and says that Mosaic is part of that.

Reciting the church slogan of “explore, belong, become,” Moore credits the church’s small group meetings called Life Groups for her ongoing Christian development.

“It was great to be a new believer and have that available to me as a resource to connect with people and read the Word with people. I really grew some spiritual roots,” she said.

Looking to the future, Moore isn’t sure what God will have her doing. But for now, she is confident that her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in fine arts has spiritual import.

“Most surely, dance can celebrate who God is,” she said. “Dance really lets the true person radiate out and shine through –- not only in the watching of it, but in the doing of it. It can really show you who you are in so many ways from your soul and your heart.

“… Another wonderful thing about dance is that it can be so relational,” Moore said.

The love of dance brought Moore together with Rachel and Elaine Farah, daughters of Mosaic’s pastor, Greg Farah. Moore taught the two girls some choreographed moves in a session one weekend.

Moore believes the desire to dance celebratively is innate as she describes teaching the girls: “Seeing that life in them and that excitement in them. All of that stuff is already in place. That’s really inspiring to me and motivating. It reminds me of what I want to give people. I want to give them back that which has gotten so buried.”

Moore isn’t sure where God will place her in His service, but she is sure she will be “surrounded by peace and grace and joy and hope — and breathing all those things in and out,” she said.

    About the Author

  • Norm Miller