.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. 


History of a Sacred Space


Over the weekend of September 18th and 19th, we will celebrate the 200th birthday of our sanctuary.  A variety of events will explore sacred and civic history in and around this historic building in historic neighborhood.

(Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will be asking all attending any indoor events to wear masks and practice social distancing.  Attendance will be limited)

All are welcome.

See below for information about some of the special events.


Witness to History: 200 Years Inside and Out: A Panel DiscussionSept. 18 11:00 AM

From a village church surrounded by quaint clusters of homes and farms to an urban oasis in the midst of tireless activity and inspired creativity.  And it hasn’t moved an inch. Built when the nation was just 33 years old and the city was beginning to expand, this sanctuary has witnessed a lot of history.  Join us for a lively discussion on history’s affects inside and history’s mad dash outside.  Special guest Anna Marcum from Village Preservation will join us.

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