Member # 35
Charismatic Ministries' Wall Street Work Pays Off
Pastor believes 'God is bringing revival' to famous financial district
Leaders of two charismatic ministries in the Wall Street district say their work is paying dividends because New Yorkers are more open to the gospel since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Instead of traditional churches, their flourishing congregations meet in office buildings and hotels.
Leighton D. Smith, pastor of Faith Evangelistic Ministries (FEM) and president of Prompt Courier Service, said the area in lower Manhattan is begging for revival. "I believe God is bringing revival to Wall Street again," said Smith, 44, who devotes only 10 hours a week to his business, which is managed by his wife, Marjorie.
Smith's ministry began in 1995 with four believers studying the Bible in his office near City Hall. Later that year, Smith sensed God's leading to establish FEM, as the meetings began to attract more and more people.
After services moved to a hotel, FEM relocated last November to its permanent home in an office building about two blocks from the New York Stock Exchange. "God is moving," said Smith, who was ordained in 1998 by World Harvest Church. "I see people coming from all over. We see street cleaners and policemen coming to our services."
The interracial church attracts workers and executives from the financial district and others from New York City's five boroughs. About 200 people worship on Sundays in a 7,500 square-foot space that accommodates 500.
Business people spend their Wednesday lunch hours there studying the Bible or listening to testimonies of Christian leaders. "Since 9/11, people are realizing that there is more to life than making money," said Smith, who along with other FEM staffers take no salaries.
Rich Sroczynski, a manager with New York University Downtown Hospital, has been attending the Bible study for six months. "It's inspiring," he said. "Knowing there are others like me trying to live out their faith every day, that is strengthening."
Meanwhile, former stock trader Daniel J. Stratton, 42, established Faith Exchange Fellowship (FEF), which grew out of a Bible study that led to many conversions and monthly services called Spirit of Revival. As the number of believers grew, he searched for a full-time pastor to lead them.
"I went into prayer, and God said, 'The church is yours, too,'" Stratton said. For two years, he battled the idea of exiting his highly lucrative trading business.
Stratton and his wife, Ann, hold ministerial credentials with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. They opened FEF as a church in 1997 and rented space in a building next to the South Tower of the World Trade Center, with their first service drawing 40 people.
In 1999, the Strattons took over as full-time co-pastors and when FEF lost its offices on 9/11, they moved to a location on Wall Street, where lunchtime services are held weekdays. Almost 250 believers meet Wednesday evenings at a nearby hotel and at other hotels on Sundays.
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