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Episcopal Church Foundation moving into The Interchurch Center

Episcopal Church Foundation moving into The Interchurch Center

The 2016-2018 triennial budget, passed by General Convention, mandated that office space at the Episcopal Church Center be rented at market rate in order to maintain the increasingly expensive Manhattan street address.

The Episcopal Church Foundation, while expressing gratitude to many years of hospitality from the Episcopal Church, cited this new cost as their reason for relocating to The Interchurch Center from the Episcopal Church Center.

The press release in full:

Episcopal Church Foundation announces move to its new home at The Interchurch Center

New York – November 16, 2015 – The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) announced at its meeting of the Board of Directors last week that it will be moving its offices to The Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive in New York City by January 2016. ECF is currently located at the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue where it has been headquartered for over a half century. “ECF believes in transformation, renewal, and positive change,” stated Donald V. Romanik, President of the Episcopal Church Foundation. “I am confident that this move to The Interchurch Center will provide new opportunities for ECF to develop innovative and mission-based ways to support and engage our wider Episcopal family and also promote greater ecumenical partnering and networking.”

Through passage of the 2016-2018 triennial budget, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church mandated that additional office space at the Episcopal Church Center be made available for rent. ECF’s move comes at this time because The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), the corporate identity of The Episcopal Church, would begin charging ECF and other affiliated agencies market rate rent as of 2016, resulting in considerable increases in operating costs to the organization.

Romanik expressed gratitude to DFMS for the many years of hospitality and fellowship, and looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Episcopal Church Center on a range of initiatives. He further conveyed ECF’s strong support for the new Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, and his vision of evangelism and reconciliation for The Episcopal Church. Affirming the decision to move, Richard L. Clements, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of ECF, indicated that, “a new space provides the opportunity to refocus our priorities and recommit to our mission as we continue to support and empower lay and clergy leaders in their efforts to create vital communities of faith.”

The Interchurch Center is a unique location that currently houses over 70 non-profit organizations working in community development, education, religion, and philanthropy. Located in Morningside Heights, its neighbors include, among others, The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Board members of ECF toured the new office premises last week and joined Romanik in expressing confidence that the vibrant and dynamic community in this new location would result in significant partnerships, both ecumenical and otherwise, in the future.

Founded in 1949, the Episcopal Church Foundation is an independent, lay-led organization that helps Episcopal communities of faith engage in visioning and planning, develop leadership, and raise financial resources for ministry.

Miguel Escobar
Managing Program Director; Ph: 212-716-6283


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Ted Thomas Martin

Of course 815 will “push back” are you letting the cart lead the horse? Yes. Time to move out of NYC, come on wake up. Money’s awasting . Stop bleeding money.

Ann Fontaine

The property and possible income from renting space should be a big consideration. Why sell something that is this valuable when you can turn it into cash to support mission. The church does not have to put staff there. Look at Trinity Wall Street – NYC property is a great investment (unless climate change drowns the island). Selling and moving as said above are 2 separate questions. Much of the staff already works from other areas of the countries in TEC. Seattle, Los Angeles, Haiti, etc. Centralization is not the way of the future – network centric is how the world is organizing – but the building is a asset and needs to be evaluated on that basis.

Bruce Robison

Selling the property at 815 Second Avenue and relocating Church Center should be two separate concerns, both guided by a spirit of prudential stewardship. If a mid sized, midtown Manhattan office building is a reasonable element in the investments portfolio of the Episcopal Church, then we should hold on to it and assure that it is well managed and maintained to provide appropriate income and appreciation. If the building isn’t a good or appropriate long-term investment vehicle, it should be sold, with the proceeds to be invested more appropriately.

Whatever direction we move on that question, the location of our denominational offices should be determined with concerns for mission efficiency and cost. Certainly changes in communications technologies allow for more flexibility. The reality anyway is that there isn’t much “Church Center” left at Church Center anymore, at least when compared to the situation, say, twenty years ago.

Jay Croft

The church next to Lambeth Palace is now a garden museum, or something like that.

At least it was when I visited some years ago.

Jay Croft

Interesting points, Scott.

TEC could rent out the entire 815 building at market rents, and set up headquarters elsewhere.

Lambeth Palace good for the Church of England? Perhaps. Why is it not open for public tours, like the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and other venues?

Prof Christopher Seitz

Have you ever visited Lambeth Palace? It is a fairly modest affair. More akin to a private residence with some good history. That section along the Thames used to flood regularly until they built the embankment.

I’m glad to hear that the request to consider moving 815 is still alive.

Prof Christopher Seitz

Yes, ‘Palace’ is actually a bit misleading. It is more like a Fortress in character…

Jay Croft

I tried to visit Lambeth once, but the doors were very securely locked.

Scott Wesley

Lambeth is certainly in a good tourist spot and who knows why it is not open. But I think the current ABC is doing an interesting thing by using a chunk of Lambeth for a formative community experiment.

But when I say I think its good to be in NY or London, is not for the PR value, but for the perspective that life in a great metropolitan center confers. I’ve lived in very small towns and I’ve lived in Manhattan. And at least in my experience, living in Manhattan changes the way you think about the world. I was sad when the UMC moved pretty much everything to Nashville – and I think that perspective now informs much of the UMC and I am now an Episcopalian…

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