Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #485
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Historic St. George's Church to re-open
Announcement made at 125th annual candlelight service
(From left to right) Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bradfield-Mitchell; Rev. Dr. Tom Pike, Calvary-St. George's Rector Emeritus; Rev. David Shin, Manhattan Korean Presbyterian Church; Rt. Rev. Andrew Dietsche, Episcopal Bishop of New York; Rev. Jacob Smith, Calvary-St. George's Church; Msgr. Leslie Ivers, Church of the Epiphany; Rabbi Daniel Alder, Brotherhood Synagogue; Rev. Christopher Mietlowski; Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church  
 
More than 500 people, both local and from around the country, gathered to celebrate the 125th annual candlelight service at historic St. George's Church on Sunday, December 8th. The service is one of the oldest candlelight services in the nation and included the traditional lessons and carols, highlighted by a moving musical offering directed by Music Director Kamel Boutros.  
 
During the service, Rev. Jacob Smith, priest-in-charge of Calvary-St. George's, announced the re-opening of the main sanctuary of St. George's Church, which has not held regular services for the past three years.  
 
Rev. Tom Pike, the rector emeritus of Calvary-St. George's who was at the service, cheered the announcement. 
 
 "After a period of restructuring, people at Peter Cooper, Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy Park are delighted to hear that this center of programs and human services will be totally available to the community again," said Pike. "Under Rev. Smith's guidance, the church has gone through a renewal and restructuring that has made it much larger and stronger."
 
Pike also noted that the church building is one of the first and most significant examples of Early Romanesque Revival church architecture in America. 
 
"It has a long rich history, is known to many and available to all," he added. "It has had an outreach that includes not only Stuyvesant Park and the immediate neighborhood, but also Gramercy Park and other areas of New York City. It is a building of breathtaking beauty and I am personally thrilled that this is happening." 
 
Also joining the church in the commemorative service were the Episcopal Bishop of New York, The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison, and clergy from several neighboring churches. The church was particularly honored to have the presence of Rabbi Daniel Alder from Gramercy Park's Brotherhood Synagogue.
 
"We are so grateful to everyone who participated in this significant service," said Smith. "I am especially grateful that the Episcopal Bishop of New York The Right Rev. Andrew Dietsche and his wife Margaret were able to join us.
 
"This was also a celebration of the unique relationship that this church has had for so many years with the community," Smith continued. "The presence of our dear friend GPBA President Arlene Harrison walking in procession with the clergy and other leaders of the church underscores our commitment to this community. I am not only grateful for her presence today, but also for her support of our many community service programs throughout the year."