Newsworthy Articles

News and Media Update June 10, 2024

Sacred Sites Grants

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has awarded $228,800 across 14 grants to landmarked religious properties throughout New York State. Half of the grants were in New York City, and almost a third of the grants were to historic synagogues. This includes grants to three historic synagogues: Kehila Kedosha Janina in Manhattan, Congregation Kol Israel in Brooklyn, and Young Israel Beth El in Borough Park. These grants support exterior restoration projects such as roof replacements and masonry repairs, ensuring these historic buildings continue to serve their communities with various social and cultural programs.

Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights received a $25,000 grant pledge toward a $1 million roof replacement, skylight restoration, and parapet repair project. Photo from The New York Landmarks Conservancy. 

New Development Projects

MDG Design + Construction has completed Hanson Place Community Plaza, a 104-unit partially affordable housing complex in Brooklyn, with 87 units designated for low- to moderate-income households. The $65.7 million project, financed through multiple sources including the New York City Housing Development Corp. and Hanson Place Church Support Corp., features a 13-story building with 22,000 square feet of community space, an 8,000-square-foot medical center, and various community programs aimed at enriching local residents' lives.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of The Hanson Place Community Plaza, two years ago. Image courtesy of Hanson Place Church Support Corp.

First McKinney Baptist Church in McKinney, TX is developing a building for sixth to 12th-grade students, featuring a multipurpose area, gathering room, hang-out areas, offices, and classrooms. The church’s lobby is also expanding to connect the student building, kids building, and main building.

The Faith Community and Climate Change 

Faith institutions worldwide are increasingly engaging in climate action, blending faith and science to address the climate crisis. 

Dr. Cybelle Shattuck, an expert on the intersection of religion and sustainability, highlights three key ways faith institutions contribute to environmental efforts:

  1. Stewardship: Many religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism, emphasize the importance of caring for creation through various practices and teachings that promote environmental stewardship.
  2. Faith, Hope, Love, and Sustainability: Religious teachings often emphasize social justice and caring for others, which extends to addressing the unequal impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations. 
  3. Communion with Nature: Many faith traditions value spiritual experiences in nature, recognizing the interconnectedness of all creation. 

Pastor André Greene of Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church emphasizes the Christian duty to care for the earth, citing biblical teachings. Greene's congregation has long fought for environmental justice, including efforts to shut down a polluting Pepco plant and push for electrification to reduce pollution in low-income homes. Nationwide, organizations like Green the Church and Interfaith Power and Light DMV are promoting sustainable practices among congregations. 

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president of the Hip Hop Caucus, rallies the crowd at a demonstration against major banks' fossil fuel investment in downtown D.C. in March 2023. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

If you enjoy these weekly updates, please consider becoming a Bricks and Mortals member or making a contribution so we can continue to provide this and resources like it. 

Sign up to join our mailing list and get these every week! 

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