The members of Trinity Wall Street and the citizens of New York City gathered with government dignitaries to celebrate the 250th anniversary of St Paul’s Chapel on the very day marking 250 years since the chapel opened. We reported back in AUG that St Paul’s was being refurbished for this 250th Anniversary. The new paint smell likely marked how recently the interior was brought back to something more in keeping with the muted colors of the 1766 original paint. The new colors chosen are natural cream, white dove and deep caviar. It required 500 gallons. In addition to the paint, the building now enjoys new air conditioning. Adding the air conditioning required some creative thinking and skilled craftsmanship so that its addition is invisible to the eye.
A US senator, the governor of New York, the mayor of NYC and the president of the Manhattan Borough, all sent or personally brought proclamations regarding St Paul’s and its historic ministry of 250 years to the city of New York. In their own way, each of the proclamations designated 30 OCT as a day lifting & honoring St Paul’s Chapel.
Since it was first built St Paul’s Chapel has been part of the Trinty Wall Street parish. It was built as a chapel of ease a quarter of a mile from the Trinity building with open pasture land separating the two. A chapel of ease is defined as a church building in a parish which is not the main building and which has been built as a matter of convenience for parishioners to attend. St Paul’s was built to accommodate the expanding ministry of the parish and to provide a worship space for folks not wishing to walk unpaved streets to Trinity. After the Great Fire of 1776 burned over 500 buildings in New York City, including the original Trinity Church, St Paul’s served the parish as it’s only building until 1790. As the city continued to grow, St Paul’s Chapel became the heart of the Trinity parish’s outreach ministries to immigrants, the homeless and working women. There are also a number of historic persons buried in the grounds which surround the building.
One of the other highlights of the renovation is a Chapel of Remembrance which recalls the days following the terrorist attack of 11 SEP 2001, when the twin towers came down a little over a block from St Paul’s. In the days after the collapse, St Paul’s became a place of refuge, relaxation and rejuvenation for the first responders concerned first with the rescue and later with the recovery of the victims of the attack. There are artifacts displayed in the Chapel that recall the 24 hour, day & night volunteer ministry of St Paul’s during that time.