Community Life

Beyond the Walls

Our second annual Beyond the Walls weekend is coming up soon! Join us from May 17 - 19.

Participants in Beyond the Walls 2023 took part in our Meals on Heels ministry on Saturday morning.

What Is "Beyond the Walls"?

Launched in 2023, Beyond the Walls is a weekend gathering in New York of members and friends from outside the city. It is an opportunity for our “extended family” to get to know Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church up close. And for us to get to know you!

Last year, Fifth Avenue hosted our first Beyond the Walls weekend. Members of our extended church family came to New York from all over the U.S. to spend a weekend here at Fifth Avenue. We got to know each other in-person by serving, celebrating, and worshiping together.

We are thrilled to announce the return of this extraordinary event! This year offers even more opportunities to foster connections, engage in community service, and join in worship together. We will gather starting on Friday, May 17, to Sunday, May 19.

Register for 2024’s Beyond the Walls Weekend here!

Here’s the schedule for our weekend:

Friday, May 17
Afternoon: Welcome at Fifth Avenue
Optional Church Tour
Wine and Cheese on the Weber Terrace with Fifth Avenue staff

Saturday, May 18
New York Bagel Breakfast at Fifth Avenue
Outreach Opportunity for Service
Free Time to Explore New York
Hybrid Community Supper Club - Dinner at Fifth Avenue with staff, clergy, and church officers

Sunday, May 19
Breakfast and Greetings from Drev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, Senior Pastor
Contemplative Bible Study OR Chapel Church Worship Service
11 am Worship in our historic Sanctuary followed by a Special Coffee Hour

Click on the image if you are interested in joining us!

Ashley Recaps BTW2023

We had no idea what to expect of this weekend. As far as we knew, there had never been an event like this one at any Presbyterian church in the country.

Would anyone sign up? Could we get at least 10 people to come?

Before we knew it, 19 participants had signed up, their travel and hotels all booked. Beyond the Walls was happening, and Rev. Sarah and I did not know what to make of it!

The weekend was better than we could have anticipated. Our entire Beyond the Walls crew was engaged, light-hearted and sincere. Folks arrived at the church on Friday evening and immediately began chatting. After a tour of our historic church (and the control room, of course, the place where livestream happens) we went up to the Weber Terrace. Our caterer, Rodrigo Rosas, had curated the space to perfection. The apps were delicious, the wine was flowing, staff and officers were there to greet. It was an ideal New York night.

The next morning, everyone showed up bright and early and ready to serve. Beyond the Walls participants cooked and packaged up meals for the homebound with our Meals and Heels ministry. Then they organized all of the clothing we keep on hand for our neighbors in need. To my surprise, this was many people’s favorite activity of the weekend. It was an opportunity to serve our church in person and get to know many of our dedicated volunteers.

Our visitors then had the rest of Saturday to enjoy the city on their own—though many of them joined us for the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” that night!

Then came Sunday, and the day was just bursting with energy. Our Beyond the Walls group met for Bible study, then it was on to worship, where they were recognized as honored guests. Many stayed for the events afterward, as we unveiled the portrait of Betsey Jackson and dedicated the Board Room in her honor.

The weekend was filled with love, welcome and God’s grace. I simply cannot wait for what this year’s Beyond the Walls weekend will bring!

—Ashley Gonzalez, director of engagement