Middle Church Homecoming Worship

On Sunday, October 3, Middle Church returned for our first in-person/virtual hybrid worship celebration in 18 months. Together, we sang and danced beside the ashes of our sanctuary, celebrating—in the words of Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis sermon—how God does not live within the temple, but in the wondrous bodies She has anointed. The beautiful fall Sunday brought hundreds into the street, and hundreds more to the virtual spaces to proclaim love’s incredible power to heal what’s broken. Passersby stopped to sing with us, even dancing on the fire escapes. Resurrection, after all, isn’t just a promise—it’s something this congregation lives through our action. After worship, members of our butterfly feeding ministry distributed meals in the community. Our faith has always found its fullest expression in our streets. It’s fitting that, for a Sunday, our worship did too.

Click the links below to see footage from the day, and read stories that went out to a city and country who likewise need resilience and resurrection. Our liturgy is a promise: We’ll rebuild together. God calls us to be “repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to live in,” and we will answer!

Click here to watch the full celebration!


Sermon in the street: Middle Church hosts first in-person service since fire ravaged East Village church (AMNY, Oct. 3, 2021)

Homecoming AMNY

“The ceremony’s theme was that of resilience, not just of the worshipers who continue to maintain their faith amidst their great loss, but also of New York as a whole as the Big Apple resurfaces from the ravages of the deadly virus. Rev. Dr. Jacqui told worshippers that they themselves were the foundation…[as] church members celebrated their resurrection in-person and via a live stream broadcast worldwide with baptisms, singing, and loving embrace. The sounds even brought nearby residents dancing onto their fire escapes.” Read More

Historic church destroyed by fire holds 1st in-person worship since start of pandemic (ABC7, Oct. 3, 2021)

ABC7 Homecoming

“At that time [of the fire], no one had been inside the historic church for nine months, because of the pandemic. During that period, they worshipped virtually, and 400 new people joined the church — like Tonya and Majora — now lifelong friends. They live nearly 3,000 miles apart, but Sunday was their first time meeting face-to-face.” Read & Watch More


Historic Middle Collegiate Church Holds First In-Person Service Since Devastating Fire (CBS NY, Oct. 3, 2021)

“The reverend [Jacqui Lewis] said Sunday’s service was a sign of resiliency and resurrection after 18 months of isolation and loss. Hundreds were expected to attend the 11 a.m. service, which was to include music from Broadway performers.” Read & Watch More


Historic Manhattan church devastated by fire welcomes back parishioners (PIX11, Oct. 3, 2021)

“Hundreds returned for the first time since March of 2020. Church member Jonathan Lucas was there with other members of the tight-knit congregation.

‘It just goes back to something that we always knew that our church is just more than a building,” Lucas said. ‘Our church is in our congregation and all that love that we try to bring into the world.’” Read & Watch More