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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.
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.
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.”
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Applications are due Jan. 26 for those who want to join the Bells at Temple Square.
What I’m reading
Here’s a great piece about the religious faith of many of the quarterbacks playing in the NFL playoffs.
Big news in women’s soccer as five BYU players were picked in the NWSL draft and another Latter-day Saint, Olivia Moultrie, received a major U.S. award.
This is the smartest piece I’ve read about Bill Belichick’s mutual parting from the New England Patriots, the team I’ve rooted for since I was a boy growing up in Greater Boston. Here’s a rather negative one about the falling out between Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft. And here’s a very positive look at how Belichick and Kraft worked together to take nine teams to Super Bowls — winning six — by Jeff Benedict for the New York Times.