General News · July 5, 2023

A Living Room

Fifth Avenue celebrates a brand-new space for its young adult ministry.

Fifth Avenue Young Adult (FAYA) members celebrate the opening of the Living Room on Wednesday, June 28, 2023.

“You’ve got to have baked goods,” says the Rev. Sarah Speed, Associate Pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, “if you want a place to feel welcoming. To feel like home.”

Baked goods and warm welcomes were joyfully abundant on Wednesday, June 28, when Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church opened its newest space, the Living Room. Members of the Fifth Avenue Young Adults (FAYA) group gathered that evening to inaugurate the suite on the seventh floor of the Curry Church House. 

“For real fellowship to happen, you need a setting that nurtures and builds community,” Speed says. “FAYA long ago got too big for most people’s houses and apartments. For the last few years, we’ve met throughout the city and the church. It felt like we were always moving. Now we have a dedicated place both we and the wider congregation can use. We’re so excited.”

A history of helping young adults flourish

FAYA consists of young adults in their twenties and thirties, the fastest-growing cohort at Fifth Avenue. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the church has long been a spiritual home for the many young professionals who live and work in the area. Those who step through the Sanctuary doors find a congregation with a deep history of helping young adults flourish. 

In 1889, the church formed a young adult ministry called “The Young People’s Christian Association.” This grew until 1960, when they adopted FAYA, or Fifth Avenue Young Adults. They used this moniker for more than 25 years. In 2021 members of this community decided to return to their roots and honor the past by restoring the FAYA name.

“FAYA has grown at a wonderful rate,” says Speed, who leads the group. “There are now over a hundred members. It’s delightful to see everyone come together at our events and in worship on Sundays. People have really found a home here. Folks are looking for somewhere that is open and affirming. Those in FAYA know they can share their full selves and we will welcome them just as they are. With every person who joins, our joy grows and our community gets stronger!” 

“This is for all of us”

That community was on full display at Wednesday night’s celebration. Alongside partaking in delicious homemade cookies and fresh coffee, attendees went on a scavenger hunt to discover the Living Room’s fun details and amenities. These include plush furniture for relaxing, ample space to socialize, a conference room for remote work, and wide tables for meals and tabletop games. A blessing of the rooms and a communal prayer followed.

The Rev. Sarah Speed gives a tour of the Living Room to members of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church family.

"We wanted to give people a third place, outside of the home or office, where they could feel safe and grow closer to one another. A place of peace, welcome, and deep joy."

“We know city life can sometimes feel isolating,” Speed says. “And space is always in short supply. We wanted to give people a third place, outside of the home or office, where they could feel safe and grow closer to one another. A place of peace, welcome, and deep joy. We’ll have the Living Room open for FAYA throughout the week and hold our regular meetings here. The whole Fifth Avenue family can also use the Living Room, too! From knitting groups to our Bagels and Bible series and so much more, this is for all of us.” 

If you are interested in learning more about the Living Room, please email [email protected]

The Living Room is part of the Curry Church House, which was added to the grounds in 1925. The Curry Church House is named for Elizabeth and Ravenel Curry in honor of their generous contribution to our 2016 capital campaign.