On September 18, 2022, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi announced a new appointment for current Butler District superintendent Rev. Dr. Eric Park.
"It is with mixed emotions that I announce the appointment of Rev. Dr. Eric Park to the Christ Church, United Methodist in New York City effective February 1, 2023," wrote Bishop Moore-Koikoi. "Several months ago Bishop Thomas Bickerton called me to ask permission to contact Rev. Park in order to invite him into the discernment process. Bishop Bickerton and the cabinet of the New York Annual Conference were beginning discussions regarding the next pastor who would serve Christ Church because the long time pastor of the church, Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman, planned to retire in January of 2023."
"We are blessed because the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference has a history of raising gifted and talented pastors who are sought after throughout the connection. As a bishop who truly believes in the connection and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide the itineracy process, I without hesitation agreed to free Rev. Park to enter into a process of discernment with the bishop and cabinet of the New York Annual Conference. And while the process of discernment took a bit longer than I had anticipated, I was not surprised at the outcome."
Christ Church has as history of powerful worship, transformative hospitality, expansive diversity, and committed discipleship. Finding its historical origins in the 1881 establishment of the Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, Christ Church NYC began its ministry at its present location (the corner of Park Avenue and 60th Street in Manhattan) in 1933. The church is driven by the desire to impact the city of New York with its ministry and to recontextualize a Christ-honoring and distinctively Wesleyan spirituality for a postmodern, post-pandemic, and increasingly skeptical culture.
The SPRC of Christ Church NYC expressed their strong belief that Eric will bring “a dynamic ministry of preaching, a compelling and sophisticated theological voice, a multilayered creativity, and a leadership that is grounded in both a spirit of collaboration and a willingness to engage in courageous experimentation.”
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi echoed this belief. "I believe that Rev. Park is the perfect pastor to serve this congregation and the Manhattan community in which it is located."
She encourages us all to wish Eric and Tara Godspeed as they begin a new chapter in their lives and ministry together and to pray for their smooth transition and for the fruitfulness of their ministry in New York. "I will miss them both dearly and am excited for them to have this opportunity. May God continue to be glorified by their witness!"
In a letter to the Butler District clergy, Rev. Park wrote, "The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference will always be my spiritual home. This is where I met Jesus and learned what it means to love and follow him. This is where I experienced both my spiritual upbringing and my call to ministry. And this is where I have served as a pastor for the last thirty years. I love this Annual Conference, its ministry, its staff, its Cabinet, and its churches. My roots will remain deeply planted in the spiritual soil of Western Pennsylvania, no matter where I might live."
Eric spent his childhood and youth in three western Pennsylvania towns (Washington, Grove City, and Indiana) and graduated from Indiana Area Senior High School in 1984. The son of a United Methodist pastor, Eric has been nurtured in the rhythms, practices, and priorities of the church’s ministry throughout his life. Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1988); a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (1991); and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey (2001). Eric is an Elder in the United Methodist Church and has been serving the church as a pastor under appointment since July of 1989. Thirty of these thirty-three appointment years have been served in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference.