The Rev. Amy Kienzle is not your ordinary pastor; in fact, she proudly calls herself: “the coolest pastor I know.”
Kienzle grew up on Long Island, and studied at New York University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in medieval and renaissance studies with a focus in art history. After graduating from NYU, she earned a Masters of Divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and spent the first several years of her ministry career in Michigan.
But New York wanted her back, and she came “home” to serve as the mission development pastor at the Park Church Co-op in Greenpoint.
“As a mission developer, I am charged with building a new community centered around a Christian worship community,” she explains. “At the Park Church Co-op we broaden what it means to be a church to include people who are not Christian in the work of fulfilling our vision. We believe we all need to work together for the better of our neighborhood and our world.”
Kienzle says working at the Co-op allows her to do what she loves most — meet and get to know the people in her community, “where resources are shared and mutual care is expressed.”
From all accounts, she’s been quite successful at bringing people together.
Julia Moak, a friend who met Kienzle through her neighborhood blog, “The Greenpointers,” says: “Under Pastor Amy’s leadership, the Park Church Co-Op has gone beyond what is expected of a local church, to become a neighborhood hub that brings the community together for a range of issues and activities. It has hosted cultural events such as farmers’ markets, concerts, dance parties, as well as open meetings for topics such as safety concerns.
“One cold winter, the church provided temporary shelter for the homeless against some resistance by neighbors,” Moak added. “Amy is someone who has a proven track record of supporting everyone in the neighborhood in an inclusive way while standing her ground to do what is right.”
Her neighborhood outreach didn’t stop there; in the spring and summer of 2016 Kienzle participated in a local “Haircuts for the Homeless” program, and routinely opens the doors to her church to provide meeting space for community groups.
This Woman of Distinction’s love for Brooklyn is undeniable, and borders on the spiritual.
“It’s the neighborhood feel that you get walking down a block of brownstones or three-floor homes,” she says. “And of course, the people you meet who have grown up here and have managed to hang on through gentrification.” Kienzle even named her dog after the borough.
“I have a dog, Brooklyn,” says Kienzle. “I found him at the Humane Society when I was in Michigan. I chose his name as a connection to home long before we ended up in Greenpoint.”
Asked to describe herself in one sentence, she responds: “Amy loves a good beer, the company of good people and the privilege of the work God has given her to do.”
OCCUPATION: Mission Development Pastor.
COMPANY: The Park Church Co-op.
CLAIM TO FAME: “The coolest pastor I know!”
FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: Radagest Hall and Biergarten and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
WOMAN I ADMIRE: My mentor and professor from seminary, Audrey. She has a wise way of assessing a situation and offering practical advice, and she’s not afraid to get snarky sometimes.
MOTTO: Jesus loves you just as you are.
©2017 Community News Group
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