Congregants of historic East Village church destroyed by 2020 fire keep the faith

A chain-link fence surrounds the burnt-out shell of what remains of the Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village.

Last year, an electrical fire in an adjacent building destroyed the historic church, forcing them to hold Christmas services virtually for the congregation. 

But congregants have kept the faith ever since, filling the fence around the church with messages of love and flowers. On Sunday, they took to the streets to show that their commitment to their faith and rebuilding is stronger than ever. 

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Congregants began their pilgrimage at the Calvary St. George's Church, their temporary home, before leaving for the walk to the East Village to visit the site of their former church.

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"There's something about love that will not be snuffed out," said Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, a Senior Minister at Middle Church.

According to Rev. Dr. Lewis, despite losing their building, the church did not lose any members, actually gaining over 500 people in the last year. 

The dream of the congregation and staff is to rebuild the church on land they own, to continue the church's message of welcoming and diversity.