National Grant Awarded
Historic St. Paul & St. Andrew Church Receives National Grant for Crucial Repairs
NEW YORK - St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church has qualified for a $250,000 grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places (“NFSP”), a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Manhattan congregation is one of 16 organizations to receive a total of over $3.5 million in funding this year.
For nearly 200 years, St. Paul & St. Andrew, a designated landmark, has been a part of the fabric of New York City. Its story and evolution over time reflects the trajectory of Manhattan and the Upper West Side neighborhood that has been its home since 1897.
The Rev. K Karpen, senior pastor, said the size of the grant “gives us a tremendous boost towards restoring our 125-year-old building. Equally exciting is the significance of being recognized as one of 16 congregations nationally, making a real difference in the life of our communities.
“That is what drives our ministry team and our congregation and all the volunteers and partners who support our work,” Karpen said. “We are very grateful to the Fund for Sacred Places."
The restoration and health of the building is crucial to St. Paul & St. Andrew’s continued impact on its community and its ability to meet the ever-changing needs of the neighborhood.
Founded as the Second Wesleyan Chapel in 1834 in lower Manhattan, the congregation migrated north as the city’s population expanded. The current “cathedral style” building, at the corner of West End Avenue and 86th St., built in the 1890s, is our third location. A merger in 1937 with St. Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church also brought a new name, the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew. Since 1981, the R.H. Robertson-designed building has been a designated landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
In recent years, St. Paul & St. Andrew has adapted to the needs of its neighborhood, developing social outreach projects such as the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, now an independent not-for-profit that still operates from the church building.
In addition, since August 2022, the congregation has opened its doors each Monday morning to 100-plus refugees and asylum seekers who have recently arrived in New York. The church partners with interfaith religious and community organizations, along with mutual aid and legal aid organizations, to welcome people with dignity and hospitality. Information and connections to housing, clothing, food, education and tutoring, legal services, benefits such as reduced-fare Metrocards, and other resources are offered.
During the rest of the week, the building is constantly abuzz, serving as a community center for various nonprofits, theater groups, and arts and culture organizations. Meetings, rehabilitation programs, concerts, and other events take place in the sanctuary, social hall, kitchen, classrooms, and 72-seat black box theater.
The grant from the NFSP will be used towards the urgently-needed restoration of our Spanish tile roof. This is a component of a larger project to restore the entire external envelope of the building, including the terracotta limestone facade and many leaded glass windows. An emergency repair of a corner of the roof three years ago focused our attention on the necessity and feasibility of replacing the entire roof. We plan to phase the roof project in sections and the NFSP grant and required matching funds will contribute significantly to our initial phase of replacing the South Sanctuary Roof at an estimated cost of $1,200,000. Because of our commitment to environment stewardship, we are exploring whether photovoltaic tiles might be cost effective, appropriate to the character of this landmarked building, and could be installed in the timeframe required.
Learn more about the ministries and history of St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church at https://stpaulandstandrew.org.