We are excited, grateful, and humbled to announce that after months of prayer and discernment, Trinity Grace Church Chelsea and Hope Midtown have decided to merge as two congregations under one leadership - Hope Chelsea and Hope Midtown - with both congregations being part of the Hope Church NYC family. Below are some frequently asked questions and responses as we lead toward a re-launch of Hope Chelsea on Sunday, October 27, 2019.

We believe we are better together being on mission for God’s Glory in our neighborhood & city. We invite you to join us in the next few weeks to give time & space to honor the rich history & impact of Trinity Grace Church Chelsea. Thank you to the Church planters that moved to NYC & past leadership and many members, volunteers involved in serving and shaping this vision, community and mission.


1) Why this merger? 

The leadership of Hope Midtown and Trinity Grace Church Chelsea believe that our respective mission(s) as a church can be better accomplished together, rather than apart.  

We believe there is mutual benefit in this partnership that will allow for both churches to flourish in mission in ministry for generations to come.  

2) How was this decision made?  

Over the past year and a half, Trinity Grace Church Chelsea has undergone a relaunch as a congregation.  This process has included a clarifying of vision, culture, and strategy, while also discerning a larger “tribe” to do ministry alongside - especially since being part of a broader city movement has been in its DNA at its inception.  

The Hope Church NYC family of churches (and specifically Hope Midtown with Drew Hyun) has been one such “tribe” that has been journeying with David/Liza Louw over this time, and after this process of prayer and discernment, the TGC Chelsea leadership and Hope Midtown leadership have discerned that this is a formal partnership worth committing to.  

3) How will the churches be structured? 

For the immediate future, the churches will be centralized in authority and assets (including a centralized budget with separate accounts - e.g. a Hope Midtown account and a Hope Chelsea account) with a Centralized Executive Team consisting of Pastors Drew Hyun, Cathy Bruce, and David Louw (with Drew Hyun leading this team).  Hope Midtown’s Transitional Leadership Team will provide oversight for both congregations as we continue to formalize our polity as a church in our denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church.  

As we continue to grow in relationship, there will be increasing connectivity between churches, including shared events, retreats, discipleship paradigms, etc.

For the most part though, influence in the respective churches will be decentralized for each local community in Midtown and Chelsea. The respective communities/leaders/teams in Chelsea will remain distinct and committed to their local congregations, and the service times and locations will remain the same (Midtown at 10:00a + 11:30a at 52nd/3rd and Chelsea at 4:30p at 22nd/8th). Thus, on the ground, not much will change for the casual attender of either church.  

4) Is the goal for Hope Chelsea to continue under this structure or eventually become its own interdependent church (like the other Hope churches)? 

In short, we don’t know.  

Ultimately, our goal is missional and relational effectiveness, and the Hope family allows for both options (An independent Hope church or a “two churches under one leadership” Hope church).  

In the short-term, we think with TGC Chelsea joining the Hope Family, it’s best to come under Hope Midtown to promote intentional relationship, integrate financial systems, and spearhead a relaunch of Hope Chelsea together.  

Eventually, the churches may become interdependent, and we trust that whatever happens we will do so with an aim toward missional and relational effectiveness.  

Currently, both the leadership of TGC Chelsea and Hope Midtown are open to not knowing what the future structure will be - we simply know that we would love to merge TGC Chelsea into the Hope family while working toward healthy interdependence.  

5) What is the timeline for this merger? 

The formal timeline* involves 5 distinct phases:

  1. Exploration and Relationship-Building (May-June 2019) 

  2. Clarifying and Deciding (July-August 2019) 

  3. Implementation and Engagement (September-October 2019) 

  4. Consolidation and Re-launching (Launch Day October 27, 2019) 

  5. Integration and Marriage (October 2019-December 2019) 

*Prior to this formal timeline, David Louw and Drew Hyun were part of a Hope Church NYC church planting cohort together for 8 months over September 2018-May 2019.

6) What will happen to David Louw as the Lead Pastor and TGC Chelsea’s staff team?

David Louw will remain the Lead Pastor of Hope Chelsea, and we are currently hoping to retain every current employee of TGC Chelsea.  The Executive Team (Drew Hyun, Cathy Bruce, David Louw) will provide oversight with David Louw leading Hope Chelsea’s community and staff team.

Meanwhile, Hope Midtown’s staff team will be available to help in different areas in Chelsea, and vice versa, with the overall desire to keep the staffing separate for healthy authority/responsibility dynamics.  

With this said, we will continue to explore ways in which our teams can enhance and assist each other - hence the benefit of this merger as human resources can be shared to invest in the flourishing of each local community.  

7) What are the financial implications/goals? 

As TGC Chelsea becomes Hope Chelsea, Hope Midtown will create a new bank account for Hope Chelsea under the umbrella “Hope Church NYC” account. Finances will be managed by Midtown’s Transitional Leadership Team and the Executive Team with quarterly updates for each congregation.

Financially, the overall goal will be for each church to eventually cover its own costs - both revenue and expenses, as if each church was a self-sustaining entity.  

If self-sustainability is not feasible, the Executive Team (with the Transitional Leadership Team) will make decisions regarding the budget with transparent communication to each of the congregations.   

8) How can I still contribute financially to TGC Chelsea as it becomes Hope Chelsea?

In October, Hope Church NYC will open up new financial and database platforms as Hope Chelsea to transition TGC Chelsea’s giving and database, but we will leave the old platforms of TGC Chelsea open through December 2019.  In January 2020, we will close all TGC Chelsea’s accounts and run exclusively under Hope Chelsea’s new platforms.  

The goal is for Hope Chelsea to have its own bank account and giving platforms under the “Hope Church NYC” umbrella in order to remain decentralized with the goal of self-sustainability.     

9) What affiliations will Hope Chelsea be joining as part of this merger? 

Hope Midtown is currently part of the Hope Church NYC family of churches, the New City Network (a network of urban churches birthed out of the Hope family), and the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. The Hope Church NYC family also has churches that affiliate with the Foursquare denomination and a growing relationship with the Vineyard movement. 

10) Where can I direct questions that may arise?  

For any questions during this period, you can direct them to