Kirk van der Swaagh
Kirk and Barbara moved to New York City in 1979 to pursue careers in the theater after receiving Master of Fine Arts degrees from Temple University in the discipline of acting. Though their professional lives were progressing nicely, the Lord revealed his greater purposes. In the providence of God, Kirk assumed the pastorate of Neighborhood Church in 1987.
Beginning in 1989, Kirk attended New Brunswick Theological Seminary, receiving the Master of Divinity. It was a long tenure at NBTS, as he was a part-time student, but he is grateful for the opportunity to have studied with the faculty and students. He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program of Knox Theological Seminary.
Kirk's ordination is with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, our church's denomination. He is currently the Area Pastor for Greater New York City & New Jersey as well as serving as the CCCC's representative to the National Pro-life Religious Council. He also serves as co-moderator of the Reformed Congregational Fellowship (see related websites under our "resources" tab). Recently, he was privileged to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Methodist Episcopal Church USA.
He enjoys following the Yankees, playing golf (which he doesn't get to do very often, which is probably for the best because he's not very good), reading detective novels, and spending time with Barbara.
A blog that receives occasional entries from Kirk
Nick married Helen Kim Nowalk in 2019, and both consider Queens to be home. Nick has two adopted sons, Tyquawn and Ernest. Tyquawn will be a freshman in college at CUNY this coming Fall.
Nick did his graduate studies at Bethel Seminary in the Twin Cities and at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He also spent two years as a pastoral apprentice under John Piper at The Bethlehem Institute (now Bethlehem Seminary). In 2008 Nick moved to Boston to start a campus ministry at Harvard University with Don Weiss (who has become a dear friend) and spent the next decade plus working with students around the Ivy League. In 2016 Nick returned to New York City to work with graduate school students at Columbia University, Columbia Medical School, and Weill-Cornell Medical School.
Having long sensed a call into pastoral ministry in the local church in NYC, Nick accepted a call from Neighborhood Church at the beginning of 2021 to serve as pastor.
Nick is passionate about volunteering with Do For One (DFO), a non-profit organization devoted to building relationships and community with adults with developmental disabilities in New York. He also serves on the board of DFO, and hopes to see more intentional inroads built in the future between those with disabilities in NYC and local churches. Nick is a lifelong lover of soccer and basketball, and in his free time enjoys a good cup of coffee and Russian novels. He tries to run regularly, but it would be a stretch to say he enjoys it.