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Conservancy Awards 14 Sacred Sites Grants

The Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program recently pledged 14 Sacred Sites Grants totaling $228,800 to landmarked religious properties throughout New York State.  Half of our grants were in New York City, and almost a third of the grants were to historic synagogues.  We are proud to support these institutions as they, and their historic buildings, continue to serve their communities.  Combined, our grantees reach almost 60,000 people annually through the services and programs they offer.

We’ve listed these grants alphabetically by the name of the institution.

The Brockport United Methodist Church is an 1876-1877 red-brick Gothic-revival church by noted upstate architects Warner and Cutler.  The church received a $15,000 grant in this round to support a $280,000 roof replacement project.  This congregation reaches about 550 people through activities such as scout troops, 12-step meetings, community meetings, musical performances, blood drives, and a community “mini” library.  The roof replacement project was predicated on an initial $10,000 Conservancy grant in 2023 to fund construction documents for roof replacement.

In Harlem, Ebenezer Gospel Tabernacle Christian Mission, a Gothic-revival church completed in 1889-91 by architect Charles Atwood was originally the Third Unitarian Church, later a synagogue, and was sold to the present congregation in 1942.  The congregation reaches about 400 people through clothing distribution and a feeding program newly reaching increasing numbers of migrants in the neighborhood.  Ebenezer received a $7,500 grant towards $15,000 chimney reconstruction to allow the church’s new heating system to meet code.

First Presbyterian Church, Valatie an 1878 stick-style building by architect Edward Ogden received a $15,000 grant toward an $83,000 project to repair exterior wood trim and detailing.  First Presbyterian reaches about 3,600 people a year through its partnership with a local social services agency Living Resources and an ecumenical food bank, both of which use donated space at the church.

Ithaca’s First Methodist Church of Forest Home, a 1915 colonial-revival style church by architect C. A. Martin, received a $10,000 grant to support a $73,000 project to replace the entrance steps, install new copper gutters and upgrade drainage.  The church serves 1,000 community members annually through activities such as community meetings and music performances.

Kehila Kedosha Janina on the Lower East Side is a 1927 “tenement style” synagogue by Sidney Daub.  This site is the center for Greek Jews worldwide, and hosts a museum on the history of Romaniote Jewry in the upper balcony area.  The congregation serves about 13,000 people annually, with museum visits and a popular Greek Jewish cultural festival.  The synagogue received a $10,000 grant to support a $57,000 roof replacement project.  This grant was informed by a roof assessment supported by a $4,000 grant in the Conservancy’s June 2023 grant round.

Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights is another example of a tenement synagogue.  The building was completed in 1927-1928 by architect Tobias Gladstone.  The synagogue received a $25,000 grant pledge toward a $1 million roof replacement, skylight restoration, and parapet repair project.  This project was also supported by a prior, $5,000 Conservancy grant towards parapet water testing.  Kol Israel serves about 400 people annually through community meals and concerts.

On Long Island, Bellport’s Mary Immaculate Catholic Church received a $10,000 grant to support a $57,000 roof replacement project at the parish’s historic chapel, a 1905 shingle-style building used for smaller services and occasional weddings.  The congregation reaches about 2,650 people through activities such as a food pantry, thrift shop, support groups, a summer camp, community meetings and an annual art fair. Our granting in Nassau and Suffolk Counties is supported by funding from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

In Park Slope, Old First Reformed Church is a 1888-1891 Gothic-revival church by architect George L. Morse.  The church received an $11,500 grant toward a $275,000 demonstration phase for a planned $3.4 million, multi-phase, stained-glass restoration.  Once again, a Conservancy consulting grant of $11,500, pledged in the June 2023 round, informed the project by helping fund a stained-glass conditions survey. The church reaches about 9,000 people annually through activities such as feeding programs, clothing collections, 12-step programs, and multiple children’s, music, and performing arts programs and concerts.

Our Lady of Victory Shrine in Lackawanna, received a $40,000 grant pledge to support a $3.5 million copper-dome replacement.  Architect Emile Ulrich designed this stunning Neo-renaissance church that opened in 1925.  This parish reaches 14,500 community members through its extensive social service outreach, an elementary school and a high school, health clinics, food and household necessities distributions, 12-step programs and concerts.

St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church is an 1897 gothic-revival church by German-born architect Francis Minuth.  This is a center for German expatriates and one of the few churches offering German-language services in the city.  The congregation serves about 2,600 people a year through music performances in partnership with the Chelsea Symphony Orchestra and the German Consulate in NY.  The church received a $30,000 grant to support aisle roof replacement.  This project also received a $11,250 consulting grant to support construction drawings for this $325,000 roof project, the first phase of what is anticipated to be a multi-phase building envelope restoration project.

Two blocks south, and also in Chelsea, St. Peter’s, an early Episcopal parish in Manhattan, is a 1836-38 gothic-revival church by architect James W. Smith.  The parish reaches about 8,000 people a year through an active social-services program, a food pantry, music performances, and children’s programming.  The church received a $10,000 grant to support an $82,000 sacristy wall and roof repair project.  The Conservancy also awarded a $13,000 consulting grant towards construction documents for the project, laying the groundwork for this repair grant.

Moving to the Hudson Valley, St. Thomas Church in Amenia is an 1850-1851 gothic-revival building by renowned church architect Richard Upjohn.  The church received a $15,000 grant to support an $80,000 roof replacement project.  Members serve about 450 people in the community through activities focused on food insecurity and healthy eating.

In Buffalo, the Unitarian Universalist Church received a $9,000 pledge toward a $90,000 stained-glass restoration at this 1904 Tudor-revival church by architect brothers Edward Austin and William Winthrop Kent.  The project is part of a much larger, $790,000 envelope restoration.  The congregation reaches about 400 people through activities such as 12-step and support groups, multiple advocacy groups, a Girl Scout troop, folk-dancing groups, concerts and community meetings.

Young Israel Beth El of Borough Park, a 1920-1923 Moorish-revival synagogue by architects Shampan & Shampan received a $20,000 grant to support a $245,000 phase of a total $1.5 million envelope restoration.  The synagogue serves 1,175 people with study groups, lecture series, concerts and community meetings.


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