Our physical existence is a universal part of the human experience. Bodies are as diverse as minds and souls. We all must use them, live in them, and take care of them. At Underwood Park CrossFit, we believe that the church should engage our bodies, and that the church can minister to them in relevant ways that contribute to the glory of heaven on earth.
In post-industrial, upstate New York incomes drop and obesity rates climb, historic downtown areas sit empty as shopping centers sprawl. In this time and place, Rev. Michael Plank and Lauren Grogan planted a worshiping community within a business that can financially support it. Underwood Park CrossFit opened in Fort Edward, NY in November 2014, breathing life into a vacant building that has been central to the town since the late 1800’s.
CrossFit is an exercise methodology that is gaining popularity because it creates a space where people meet both their physical and emotional needs. Members work hard to be healthy, support each other through struggles and celebrate together in triumphs. CrossFit values effort and personal growth; it encourages people to explore their potential. We hold each other accountable and encourage and expect growth from one another. People join us to be better, and in community, they find the tools to do that.
We believe that spiritual growth happens in the midst of a strong community so every Friday evening, people gather to work out while exploring the ways God is calling us to take care of our bodies and the health of our communities. Our members have made choices to take control of parts of our lives that have long felt dysfunctional and to live into the fullness of the lives God has given them. Their results have been life-giving to them and to those around them. The energy is contagious, the growth is tangible, the spirit moves with us through every pull up, squat and sweaty high five.
Michael is the pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Hudson Falls and he and Lauren own and operate Underwood Park CrossFit in Fort Edward. Michael, Lauren, their son, Harvey, and their dog and cat would all describe a perfect day as one spent together eating as many different delicious foods as possible.