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Reaching Out to the Inner City

01. March 2013

Columns, Congregation of the Month,


Syracuse RPC

Location: Syracuse, N.Y.

Organized: 1849

Members: 90 communicant; 25 baptized

Pastor: Andrew Schep



Andrew Schep has served as pastor since 2003. Taylor Gordon is the full-time director of youth & community outreach ministries. Under Pastor Ed Robson’s leadership, the church grew significantly throughout the 1970s and ’80s and spawned new congregations in Rochester and Oswego. Under Pastor Ken Smith’s tenure in the 1990s, a portion of the congregation spun off to start what is now called Messiah’s Church in the northern suburb of Clay.

Church Life and Ministry

The church was built in a rural setting less than two miles south of the city center, but the city of Syracuse soon grew around it; and the church is now in an inner-city neighborhood blighted by poverty, gangs, and violence. Most members drive in from the suburbs or from the city’s more affluent and quieter neighborhoods.

The congregation has long wrestled with the challenge of being a relevant and meaningful part of its surroundings, seeking ways of overcoming racial, economic and educational barriers to show the love of Christ without condescension. The ministries by which we try to do this also serve to bring the members of our ...

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