Saint Paul's Chapel, New York City
St. Paul's Chapel is owned by Trinity Church - the Episcopal congregation further down Broadway which once owned most of lower Manhattan. The Chapel here is a survivor - first of the devastating 1776 fire which cleared much of the city - and more recently, of the 9/11 calamity, when destruction at the World Trade Center immediately across the street threatened to set ablaze the chapel roof.
For weeks after 9/11, the churchyard here was covered in several feet of debris. The Chapel played an important role in providing non-denominational relief and spiritual space for the rescue and clean-up crews.
The plane trees in the churchyard remind me of London.
St. Paul's Chapel is a small church just across from where the WTC stood. Miraculously, this kind little church survived the horrors of September 11th, and provided comfort and shelter to the victims and heros of the attacks throughout the ordeal. Rescue crews working round the clock found warm cots and hot coffee waiting for them at St. Paul's.
St. Paul's has embraced its place in the recent history of the USA. There are numerous displays of remembrances, flags, gifts, stuffed toys and such that were sent to the grieving after the 9/11 attacks. The photo on my main NYC page of all the American flags was taken inside St. Paul's Chapel.
Also, there's a lot more history to this little church beyond 9/11 and the WTC. When he was President, George Washington worshiped at this chapel. They've preserved and displayed his "bench". In addition, the congregation of St. Paul's provided brotherhood and support to the victims of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings at the end of the Second World War. No political statement is being made here, nor by the church. Their mission was simply to provide humanity to a suffering population. There are paper prayer ropes on display in the church that were sent by the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaka thanking the church members for their love.
Fondest memory: The quiet dignity of this little chapel was one of my most unexpected and fondest memory of an afternoon "downtown".
I am no church goer myself, but the ministry of St. Paul's exuded a love of humanity and the human spirit of which anyone can and should be proud.
The chapel is located at
209 Broadway, NY, NY 10007-2977
PLEASE NOTE : Check my travelogue(s) on NYC for more photos of St. Paul's Chapel.
A card I picked up at the church says simply...
"We would love to hear from you" and lists www.saintpaulschapel.org as an email address.