Why these New York congregations won’t be worshipping in a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse for 3 years

The chapel at the West End Collegiate Church will become the dual home of congregations of Latter-day Saints and the College Church of the City of New York during the renovation of the Manhattan New York Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The chapel at the West End Collegiate Church will become the dual home of congregations of Latter-day Saints and the College Church of the City of New York during the renovation of the Manhattan New York Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | OPEN Impact Real Estate
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What do Latter-day Saint congregations do when they uniquely share the same building with a temple, but then the entire space closes down for renovation?

Well, they sign a lease to share space with the oldest continually worshipping church in America, one that traces its origins to Dutch settlers in the early 1600s.

Here’s what’s happening.

The Manhattan Temple occupies the top three floors at 125 Columbus Avenue in New York City with a baptistry on the first floor. The second floor has a public affairs office and distribution center. The meetinghouse and chapel are the third floor, home to the Manhattan 1st Ward, Riverside Park Ward and Lincoln Square Young Single Adult Ward.

President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson attend the Manhattan New York Temple on his 93rd birthday on Sept. 9, 2017.
President Russell M. Nelson, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, attend the Manhattan New York Temple on President Nelson’s 93rd birthday on Sept. 9, 2017. | Courtesy President Russell M. Nelson

The temple and the meetinghouse will close on March 2 for a three-year renovation.

New York New York Stake President Colin Cropper confirmed the Manhattan 1st and Riverside Park wards will move to the beautiful West End Collegiate Church building, which is the home of one of the four congregations of the Collegiate Church of the City of New York.

The Church of Jesus Christ signed a three-year lease for 40,000 square feet of shared and dedicated space at the West End Collegiate Church facility at 245 West 77th St. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, according to a news release.

The two churches will occupy the building in tandem, each having their own dedicated spaces while sharing the building’s Sanctuary, gym, multipurpose room, kitchen and chapel.

The West End building was completed in 1892, made of brick and terra cotta in a Dutch Colonial style that evokes the New York City’s and the church’s Dutch past.

The building also features three windows designed by Tiffany Studios.

Latter-day Saint and College Church of the City of New York congregations will share the West End Collegiate Church chapel.
The chapel at the West End Collegiate Church will become the dual home of congregations of Latter-day Saints and the College Church of the City of New York during the renovation of the Manhattan New York Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | OPEN Impact Real Estate

West End Collegiate Church is in talks with a third religious group to join what the news release called a pioneering multifaith campus.

West End has been dealing with ongoing vacancy issues related to COVID-19, the release said. The lease with the Latter-day Saints serves both churches’ needs, said the president of the Collegiate Church of the City of New York, William Critzman.

“So often we hear of churches forced to make difficult decisions about their buildings or their ministry because of our ever-changing socio/cultural/economic landscape,” said Critzman, who also is the senior minister of West End Collegiate Church. “That’s not the story of our faith. At West End, we are telling the story of God’s abundant blessings by welcoming new partners in faith to our building. We are writing a new chapter where there is room enough for all, where everyone may belong, and where grace and love abounds.”

While the temple is being renovated, Latter-day Saints are being encourage to do their temple worship at the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple or the Hartford Connecticut Temple.

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An artist’s rendering of the renovated Manhattan New York Temple, which is scheduled to be completed in 2027.
An artist’s rendering of what the renovated Manhattan New York Temple is expected to look like. The temple will close March 2, 2024, for a three-year remodel. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints