Metropolitan Community Church of New York
The Metropolitan Community Church was founded to minister to the LGBT community whose members were not welcome in most churches.
The New York congregation held its first service in 1972 and moved to this location in 1994.
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The Metropolitan Community Church is a Protestant denomination founded in Los Angeles in 1968 by Reverend Troy Perry to minister to the spiritual needs of the LGBT community at a time when most Protestant churches did not welcome openly gay members. Today the denomination has 222 congregations in 37 countries.
The New York branch of the church (MCCNY) was established in 1972, first renting space in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The congregation was led by Reverend Howard Wells, who, after starting MCCNY, became the first openly gay student at Union Theological Seminary. The church actively supported the campaign to establish a Lesbian and Gay Community Center (now the LGBT Community Center) in New York and worshiped in its 13th Street building from its opening in 1983 until 1994. Since that time, the church has occupied the narrow building at 446 West 36th Street, which was originally built for the German Gospel Tabernacle in 1887 and altered to accommodate a stable in 1894.
We believe, with Isaiah, that the House of God should be a place of prayer and welcome for all of God’s children.
Transgender activist Sylvia Rivera was an active member of the congregation, volunteering in the food pantry and youth center. These have now been renamed the Sylvia Rivera Food Pantry and Sylvia’s Place in her honor.
Entry by Andrew S. Dolkart, project director (March 2017).
NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.
- Architect or Builder: William Niebuhr; John D. Haas (alteration)
- Year Built: 1887; 1894 (alteration)
David W. Dunlap, From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan’s Houses of Worship (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001).
“Buildings Projected,” Real Estate Record and Guide, April 9, 1887, p. 465.
“Alterations,” Real Estate Record and Guide, January 27, 1894, p. 147.
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