An Interview With Our Newest Partner: Stewardship Realty

“Through wisdom is a house built; and by understanding it is established… and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Proverbs 24:3,6


We at The FaithX Project always have our proverbial eyes open for organizations with whom we can develop mutually beneficial, collaborative partnerships: relationships that not only benefit our respective organizations but also provide benefit to our respective clients. In this way, both organizations get to “play to their strengths”. Our unique strength (our superpower, if you will) is helping congregations and the judicatories that support them (diocese, synods, presbyteries) ground their missional discernment and strategy development in interactive data. Our partner relationships allow us to point our clients to trusted resources to help them develop, plan, and implement those strategies.

An example of this collaborative approach at work is our partnership with Stewardship Realty. In our data-grounded discernment work with congregations, we find that a common challenge is a need to more effectively leverage the property and buildings for the sake of their neighborhoods and in furtherance of their vision. When our clients need help with the nuts and bolts of doing that we turn to Stewardship Realty.

We recently asked Haiko Cornellisen, one of the principal consultants of Stewardship Realty, to answer a few questions for our readers. 

Can you briefly describe for our readers the vision and mission of Stewardship Realty, how it came to be, and also tell us your “superpower”?

Our Vision is to convert church real estate assets from a liability to an asset to empower the church and its mission. Our “superpower” is that we simply care about the church. 

My wife and I joined St Mark’s in Jackson Heights, NY right before our first child was born. Both our boys grew up in the church and dug many holes in the church garden. We spend many hours helping with the various ministries and my in-laws even helped set up a food pantry collaboration with their Lutheran church in PA. The Rector of my church asked me to become a Vestry member as the church was planning to do real estate development. As I was helping my church, other churches in the area asked me to help them with real estate development, too. This ultimately led to my appointment as Director of Real Estate at the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. At the Diocese I hired Dan Panitz to become the Senior Asset manager, and who would ultimately become my business partner. Martin Piazzola, who was the Senior Vice President of Development at Avalon Bay (a real estate investment trust that is the 3rd largest owner of apartments in the United States), knew Dan for decades and joined us to become the third principal at Stewardship Realty. We have a great team at Stewardship Realty with complementary backgrounds and experiences. And it feels like a blessing to be able to combine our two passions of church and real estate into Stewardship Realty.

Can you give us one or two examples of the services you provide to congregations and judicatories?

We provide property development partnerships, asset management, and property analysis for our faith-based organizations. For the property analysis, we collaborate with Faith X to create a Missional analysis that we combine with a real estate analysis.

What led Stewardship Reality to explore a partnership with FaithX?

Church Real Estate Development is effectively a Vision that is literally set in stone. Central to the church’s Vision is its Mission. Therefore, we needed a partner that can help analyze the missional potential of a church. FaithX is uniquely positioned to provide the kind of missional opportunity analysis we need to help congregations achieve a vision that is undergirded by data-grounded discernment.

How has your partnership with FaithX benefited your clients?

From the very beginning of our work with any church client, we do the missional analysis and FaithX’s and build upon it with the real estate analysis that we provide to provide a holistic analysis that neither organization could do alone.

What impact does your collaboration with FaithX have on the future of congregations?

FaithX provides unique tools and skills to not just analyze but also help implement missional futures that are grounded in data. The more thorough the analysis, the more help the church can get to implement strategies that will improve its vitality and sustainability, and the brighter the future of the church are.