Rick Warren to Preach at Lower Manhattan Church Sunday

Pastor Rick Warren will preach on hope and future in Lower Manhattan Community Church, a few blocks away from New York City’s ground zero, on Sunday.

Warren, the founder and senior pastor of the evangelical Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., will preach at the Manhattan house of worship, one of Saddleback Church’s “daughter churches,” delivering the message “A Hope & Future for You,” based on Jeremiah 29:11, LMCC said in a statement.

“We’re honored to have Pastor Warren speak at LMCC as we continue our mission to serve all of our neighbors in lower Manhattan,” Ryan Holladay, senior pastor at Lower Manhattan Community Church, said. The service is scheduled for 11 a.m. in a Battery Park auditorium where LMCC meets each Sunday.

Warren will preach to the congregation that was formed in 2002 in response to the 9/11 attacks.

After New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared that the city’s 9/11 anniversary commemoration last week would have no clergy or prayer, Warren told his church they would have their own nationwide prayer.

The five "Hope & Freedom" services at Saddleback Church led by Warren last week paid tribute to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 and the wars that followed. During the services, a video was shown of LMCC members sharing their memories of the fateful day.

The 9/11 anniversary was for relatives of Sept. 11 victims and had never included clergy invocations, and it would be impossible to include everyone who would like to participate, The Associated Press quoted Bloomberg’s office as saying.

In response, Warren told his congregation, “This week the mayor of New York City announced that at the 10th anniversary memorial service at ground zero that there are going to be no prayers. Now, you know what I think about that. So, we are going to have our own nationwide, national prayer day.”

LMCC was launched with help from Saddleback Church, and the two churches recently formally re-established their relationship. LMCC senior pastor Ryan Holladay is the son of Saddleback Church’s associate pastor Tom Holladay.

In early 2002, as smoke was still rising from the World Trade Center site, a group of neighborhood families began meeting together in homes and restaurants, discussing the need for a different sort of church in the community – a church that would connect people to God and one another in authentic and meaningful ways. And the realization of that dream began in early 2003 when the first public worship service was held. Eight years later, LMCC is still in pursuit of the same goal, the church says on its website.

Warren, author of the bestselling book The Purpose Driven Life, delivered the invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and has also spoken at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference.