.traditions Early Days of Education
As early as 1797, Lutheran leaders of New York City were laying the foundation for the a church in this young nation.
In that year, John Christopher Hartwick began holding seminary classes at the parsonage of John Christopher Kunze that stood on the site of the present St. John’s. Kunze was a professor at Columbia University and pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. Classes preparing young men for ministry continued all the way to 1940 before the seminary was moved upstate to Oneonta, NY to the present day Hartwick College.
A Sacred Space is Created
In 1821, the leaders of the Eighth Presbyterian Church bought this property from the heirs of Pastor Kunze. The Presbyterians built the church that stands here today and dedicated it in September of 1821.
It was built in Federalist style. Originally with a covered portico on the front supported by pillars.
The sanctuary passed to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church who then sold it to the people of St. John’s in 1858.
Lutherans in Residence
St. John’s, a congregation of German-speaking Lutherans, was started in 1855 by Rev. August Held after he left St. Mark’s in the East Village. After three years of struggle as a young congregation, they were able to purchase this sanctuary.
Over the past century and a half, St. John’s has gone from immigrant congregation to diverse community of faith that seeks to share the love of Jesus with all creation. We proclaim the radical nature of the gospel, teach the understandings of our denominational tradition, and engage the artistic spirit and the LGBTQIA+ traditions of the community we live in and serve.