The Jersey City, NJ, council has voted to require the Diocese of Newark to seek approval before altering or demolishing a church that has been closed since 1994.
The shuttered St. John’s Episcopal Church, a 143-year old Jersey City structure once known as “the millionaire’s church” because of its well-heeled congregation, has been named a local landmark by the City Council.
The council on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure designating the church a historic landmark, which will require its owners, the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, to seek approval from the local Historic Preservation Commission before altering or demolishing the building.
The diocese objects to the designation, saying the Summit Avenue church is too dilapidated to be saved. But local preservationists, who have been lobbying for the landmark designation for years, said Wednesday the church must be saved…..
….St. John’s played a pivotal role for African Americans in Jersey City during the civil-rights movement. The Rev. Robert W. Castle Jr., rector at St. John’s from 1960 to 1968, opened his home to the Black Panthers and picketed businesses for not hiring blacks.