As the Facade Descends, Middle Rises

On Monday, November 20, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and members of the Middle Church consistory, staff and congregation were joined by dozens of people from our East Village community at the corner of 2nd Ave. and 7th St. as construction crews began to demolish our facade. Sadly, the December 5, 2020, fire—which originated in the building next door and destroyed our sanctuary—damaged the structure so severely that it could not be saved. Together, we wept and mourned as we said goodbye to the last pieces of this beloved space which housed so much joy.

While the day was heartbreaking and tender, the presence of news crews and neighborhood clergy also testified to how this moment marks the birth of a new chapter in our story: Middle is rising. We are currently rehabilitating our facilities at 50 E. 7th street to create the first phase of our Center for Spirituality, Justice, and the Arts. This will include space for in-person and digital justice, artistic and educational programming, and a two-story temporary worship/gathering space—all of which we hope to be ready by Christmas, 2024! Our ongoing Middle Rising Campaign  has already raised more than $6.5 million of our $15 million goal to rise from the ashes. Click here to learn more about the campaign and make a gift to help us rise.

Amid turbulent times, we are still here. The fierce love of this community continues to grow with a spirit that cannot be destroyed by any flame. We invite you to join us at 11:45 a.m. every Sunday at East End Temple (245 E. 17th St.), and on our YouTube channel, Facebook page and (We are also live on YouTube at 3:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. PT.)

Click the links below to watch press coverage from this beautiful day!

ABC7 New York – Final piece of Middle Church left standing after raging fire in 2020 to be demolished

PIX11- Crews begin tearing down historic East Village church destroyed by fire

Religion News Service – Manhattan’s Middle Collegiate Church begins façade demolition

Evgrieve – Demolition underway on the fire-damaged Middle Church façade

NY1 – Remains of historic East Village church demolished

Watch and read press coverage – Three years later, historic facade of Middle Church begins demolition today – Baptist News Global

Lights Aloft

Members of the Middle Church community gather, led by Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, for a candlelight vigil at the end of the day.

Making Way for Something New

Construction crews begin removing the Middle Church sanctuary facade, damaged beyond repair by the 2020 fire that spread from a vacant building next door.

Telling Our Story

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and Middle leadership speak to members of the press about our plans to rebuild on site and continue serving the East Village.

Love Leaves Its Mark

Members of the community brought flowers and wrote blessings, tucked into the construction fence, as we prayed for God to bless the work that is to come.

Where Two or Three are Gathered

There God is, too. And we had many more than two or three, and the Holy Spirit abounded! Tears flowed, songs rose, memories were shared. We are resurrection people, and this is our story.