Newsworthy Articles

News and Media Update April 21, 2023

Houses of Worship and Preservation

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic Black church in Pittsburgh, was forced to give up their land over 60 years ago. After reaching an agreement with the NHL team that owns the development rights to the land, Bethel AME will now be returning to their original location.   

Historical Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church / Photo by NNPA

Further north in Ontario, Canada, the local town council is requesting Limehouse Church receive the designation of ‘heritage property.’ This designation would help protect the cultural and architectural significance of the church and preserve it.

To become a heritage property in Canada a property must meet one or more of the stipulations in the Heritage Act’s Regulation. Some examples of stipulations include:

  • Being a landmark
  • Has information that helps with understanding a community or culture
  • Is a rare, unique, representative, or early example of a style, type, expression, material, or construction method.

In Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu is allocating $40 million in funding to community preservation projects across the city. These projects include affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space projects. There are 27 preservation projects being funded including the American Buddhist Association Building and the First Baptist Church in Back Bay.

Houses of Worship and Affordable Housing

Across the country, faith-based groups and development companies are working to transform unused spaces into community spaces and affordable housing. 

In the South Bronx, Victory Commons, a new residential development, is now accepting applications for 79 affordable units. Housed within the preexisting Victory Baptist Church, the building offers supportive services for formerly homeless households and a church sanctuary. The 95-unit apartment building is part of a larger mixed-use housing project that included the redevelopment of the church and several low-rise residential buildings on the same block.

Another development project located in Jersey City is incorporating the historic St. Lucy's Catholic Church into a 23-story high-rise residential tower. When it’s done the project will be right above the existing church.

The residential tower will include a mix of market-rate and affordable housing units, several amenity spaces. It will also replace a homeless shelter with a new one that includes 165 beds and on-site services administered by the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Rendering of the new mixed-use development at 619 Grove Street and the historic St. Lucy's Church below

The Christian Cultural Center (CCC) and Reverend A.R. Bernard, in partnership with the Gotham Organization and Monadnock Development, are planning to construct a sustainable, mixed-income community in East New York. This project will consist of affordable rental residences, homeownership units, retail space, medical centers, and a daycare center. 

The overall plan includes amenities such as a fresh food grocery store, performing arts center, and workforce development center, as well as walking paths and green spaces. 

Houses of Worship and Community

Synagogue outreach director Souksavat Soukhaseum is receiving recognition for his community service work in Flushing, Queens. He helped organize a food pantry for community members in the area as the Director of Community Outreach for the Free Synagogue of Flushing.

“Even during up times and down times, the community still needs help, whatever shape or form, it comes in,” Soukhaseum says. “You adapt. It's not one service, it's various services that are shaped to fit the needs of the community.”

Souksavat “Souks” Soukhaseum is the director of community outreach at the Free Synagogue of Flushing. Photo by Jacob Kaye

Judson Memorial Church has historically advocated for and supported women’s reproductive rights. From founding one of the first community health care clinics in the country, to offering abortion referrals to women with unwanted pregnancies in the 60’s, Judson Memorial Church has never shied away from serving their community. 

More recently, Judson Memorial Church started the Empathy Project, to provide theological discussion to support women struggling with reproductive decisions  Read about their history of supporting reproductive rights

Looking to preserve your space through a variety of creative strategies?