A historic church in lower Manhattan that houses New York’s Liberty Bell and whose congregation dates to the earliest days of the city’s settlement was gutted by a massive fire early Saturday that sent flames shooting through the roof.
The Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village burned before dawn after a fire spread from a five-story vacant building adjacent to the church around 5 a.m. Video posted on Twitter shows flames shooting from the roof and the church’s stately front window glowing from the conflagration inside.
We are devastated. We are gutted like our building is gutted; our hearts are crushed like our doors are crushed, said the Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis.
“But we know how to be the church, and we know that God is God, yesterday, today and tomorrow. City Council member Carlina Rivera tweeted that no injuries were reported.
Built in 1892, the church is home to the oldest congregation of the Collegiate Churches of New York, which date to the Dutch settlement of the island in the 1620s, according to the church’s website.
The Middle Collegiate Church had been in two other locations in Manhattan since 1729.
The bell tower houses New York’s Liberty Bell, which pealed to mark the birth of the nation in 1776 and has since been rung for the inaugurations and deaths of American presidents and events such as remembrance of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the church.
Lewis believed the bell survived the fire but was not certain. Church minister Amanda Ashcraft told WABC that the Tiffany stained glass windows were gone.
The fate of the church building is unclear, Lewis said, but the ministry will continue.
Our church has been worshipping digitally since March 15, Lewis said. And that’s what we’ll be doing tomorrow.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.