Home Christian News Middle Collegiate Church Nears Time for Demolition of Its Historic Facade

Middle Collegiate Church Nears Time for Demolition of Its Historic Facade

Lewis said she hopes the church’s five-story townhouse next door to the church, which was damaged by water sprayed at the church by firefighters, can be renovated to house a temporary worship space by December 2024. Since the fire, Middle Collegiate’s 120 to 170 in-person worshippers have been meeting at East End Temple, a Reform synagogue 10 blocks away.

The townhouse property, Lewis said, “would be incorporated into the larger footprint of a neighborhood assembly space that we would worship in on Sunday but that the community can use for concerts or town hall gatherings.”

In a third phase, Lewis added, the church would seek to build a permanent sanctuary in partnership with another organization that is interested in also using the site for affordable housing or some other social-service-oriented mission. The landmarks commission noted in its permit that it will work with the church on the planned redesign of a new building.

Lewis estimates that it will cost $35 million to $40 million to complete all three stages of the church’s plans. She said $6 million of a $15 million fundraising campaign has already been collected.

Middle Church is one of four Collegiate Churches of New York that sprung from a 17th-century Reformed Church congregation when New York was still New Amsterdam and that are considered the oldest continuously practicing Protestant congregations in the Americas. Its companion churches are the Marble Collegiate Church, where Norman Vincent Peale was pastor; the West End Church; and the Fort Washington Church.

Lewis expects the congregation will mark the demolition with a time of prayer and song before it occurs.

“Our congregation will be making a journey to the site on December 4,” she added, “as we commemorate the third anniversary of the fire that destroyed our sacred space.”

This article originally appeared here