Worship at St. Paul’s Chapel

I went to services at St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway; way down toward the tip of Manhattan. It’s just next to the World Trade Center site (Ground Zero). As you may be aware, it’s an Episcopal church. As I understand it, the Chapel is closely united with Trinity Church; which is just down the street. (When I went down there, I was trying to go to Trinity’s services. They sent me up to St. Paul’s (it’s just a couple of short blocks).

St. Paul’s claims to be Manhattan’s oldest public building in continuous use. It even operated during 9/11’s aftermath. As I understand it, the chapel was used as a sleeping area and rest station for the crews.

I like the front doors.

I was in there for the 8am service. They used Rite 2 (for those who know the Prayer Book and have their preferences). But, there were some variations. Unlike every other Episcopal church I’ve been to, this one is brightly lit; mainly from the ample windows. I’m sure that’s not original, though. Glass was expensive way back then.

And another thing; the service was performed “in the round”. There was a table at the center and the priests and visitors sat in chairs that circled the table. It was only an alter in the formal sense. You can see it in the picture below.

It does have a formal alter. Nothing particularly memorable. It’s got the Ten Commandments and a very tiny Cross. The picture below is viewing the church’s interior from the alter. As you can see, the spirit of 9/11 is still held tightly. During the non-service times, St. Paul’s has a steady stream of people looking at the exhibits that surround the perimeter of the church’s interior. There’s lots of memories of those days there.

An outside is the church’s graveyard; or churchyard as they like to call it. Remember, we are only a few blocks away from the NY Stock Exchange and, I believe, just across the street from the American Stock Exchange.

And just outside of the churchyard in the back stands the big open area that was the WTC. You really can’t see anything there anymore. They’ve blocked it off.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Manhattan, Wanderings

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