UWS Church Receives Grant for ‘Crucial Repairs’

st paul and st andrew uws grant

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A local church with nearly two centuries of Manhattan history was honored with a prestigious national grant to address an “urgently-needed” restoration project.

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West 86th Street’s St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church’s deep roots date back to the 1800s. Two different congregations, St. Paul’s Methodist Church and St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, were once neighbors (and rivals of sorts).

The former was founded as the Second Wesleyan Chapel downtown on Mulberry Street between Houston and Bleecker in 1834. It settled into the Upper West Side on 86th and West End Avenue in 1894, much to the chagrin of neighboring St. Andrew’s. For 40 years, the membership of the respective churches fluctuated before they joined together in 1937 to form today’s St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church.

As time marched on, the congregation’s wants and needs changed, including those related to interior and exterior designs. Different church leaders meant different aesthetics, and thus, several architectural and design changes. A major exterior renovation was done in 1968, and in 1979, the membership voted to level the building. After being landmarked in 1981, the current structure was spared from demolition due to the United States Supreme Court’s refusal to hear whether landmarking places of worship was a First Amendment violation.

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Today’s building – now 125 years old – needs a bit of love. Enter The National Fund for Sacred Places, a “highly competitive program that supports vibrant faith communities that have buildings of historical significance and architectural character, and that play an essential role in meeting the larger spiritual, social, and economic needs of the communities they serve.”

In collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the fund chose 16 places of worship from across the U.S. to receive capital grants of up to $250,000 and “and hands-on technical assistance to congregations undertaking significant preservation projects.”

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St. Paul & St. Andrew intends to use the grant to restore its Spanish-tile roof, the first phase of a larger project to fully restore the building’s exterior envelope. The roof work will be phased in sections “and the NFSP grant and required matching funds will contribute significantly to [the church’s] initial phase of replacing the South Sanctuary Roof at an estimated cost of $1,200,000.”

The church is one of two New York City places of worship found eligible for the grant. The other is the Episcopalian Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea.


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