It was in 1963 that Church Center opened. It could be sold by 2013. The House of Deputies the other day voted to sell the Church Center at 815 at an opportune time.
Through the magic of the online Archives of the Episcopal Church here’s the ENS press release of May 10, 1963:
NEW YORK, — The new, national Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, was dedicated Monday, April 29.
Presiding Bishop Lichtenberger laid the cornerstone. Also taking part in the dedication ceremonies was the Church’s highest ranking layman, Clifford P. Morehouse, president of the House of Deputies.
The ceremony took place under the arcade that runs the full length of the Second Avenue facade. In the cornerstone the Presiding Bishop placed six foundation symbols: a cross, the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons and the Journal of the 1961 General Convention, the United Thank Offering Box which belonged to the founder of the special women’s offering, and the lists of memorials, thank-offerings, and other gifts in addition to lists of contributors to the building.
From the arcade the procession moved inside the lobby of the 11-story edifice. After a stop at the ceramic mosaic map of the world–which symbolizes the world-wide work of the Church–the entire Center was blessed at the building plaque in the lobby.
The procession then moved into the ground-floor, one-and-a-half story Chapel of Christ the Lord. Here, the chapel and its memorials were dedicated. The ceremonies were concluded by a solemn “Te Deum,” the traditional hymn of Thanksgiving.
Among the copies of the Virginia Churchman that I inherited from my grandmother Nancy Richmond Pugh, I found this story from June 1964:
Our Memorial to Bishop Tucker
At press time all emphasis was being put on Whitsunday as the successful terminal date for meeting this Diocese’s share in the new Episcopal Church Center which is already in use in New York City….
Again it was emphasized that the contribution of the Diocese of Virginia, to the new HQ, will constitute a memorial to the late Rt. Rev. Henry St. George Tucker, who was not only a former Missionary Bishop (Japan) and a former Bishop of Virginia, but also the first Presiding Bishop of the Church holding that position without retaining his See.
Resolution B013, passed by the House of Deputies yesterday, would allow the Presiding Bishop to remain a diocesan. Note that in terms of membership the church is about the size it was when that practice ended in 1947.
By the way, we see in hindsight that membership peaked just as 815 NY, NYwas acquired.
Anybody up for an episode of Mad Men?