Presenting Epiphany 351: Faith on the Move
One block west, a restored and modernized Church of the Epiphany at 351 East 74th Street will be our new
home starting in 2021. This is the first of several FAQ’s to answer many of your questions about what is going
on with our beloved church and its neighborhood. Check back for updates to this ongoing conversation. You
can contribute your own questions by emailing us at
Q: Ok, so what is happening to the Church of the Epiphany?
After careful and prayerful deliberation, and under the by-laws of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, last summer the Vestry of the Church of the Epiphany voted to move its house of worship from York Avenue at 74th Street one block west to the historic Jan Hus Presbyterian Church at 351 East 74th Street. This will be Epiphany’s sixth home since its founding in downtown Manhattan in 1833.
Q: What will happen to Jan Hus Presbyterian Church?
Epiphany purchased the Jan Hus property, and Jan Hus and its parishioners have purchased a smaller location on the Upper East Side. Both congregations will continue their ministry in the community. Starting in the summer of 2019, the exterior of the former Jan Hus building will be lovingly restored with a focus on full accessibility from the street and throughout the interior. The interior spaces will be totally reconfigured, including a re-designed sanctuary for worship.
Left: Existing facade of Jan Hus. See color key below for proposed changes and restoration to exterior at 351 East 74th Street.
Right: Architect's proposal of the new Church of the Epiphany facade depicting new street-level entrances, allowing easier access plus new stairs with landing. All brickwork will be cleaned and repointed.
[ ]Windows to be replaced. Frames and Profiles will be similar to existing.
[ ]Remove existing stairs and replace with accessible stairs and elevator entrance.
[ ]New entrance doors.
[ ]Refinish dormers with stucco and copper flashing to resemble historic facade.
[ ]New copper finish at belltower.
[ ]Facade to be completely repointed and cleaned.
Q: What will happen to the current site of the Church of the Epiphany?
The leadership at the Church of the Epiphany deliberately chose not to sell the York Avenue property to a for-profit developer. In keeping with its historic ministry to the health care community, Epiphany sold the property to the non-profit Weill Cornell Medical Center. The three parties, Epiphany, Jan Hus and Weill Cornell, signed contracts in November and the official closing was in February of 2019.
While Epiphany is renovating the property at 351 East 74th Street, the parish and school will remain at their current location on York Avenue, worshiping, serving and educating, with full services and Vacation Bible School until Spring 2021. After Epiphany moves to its new location, the church building at York Avenue will be demolished. Weill Cornell’s intent is to build medical student housing on this site that is convenient to New York Hospital
Q: What will happen to The Church of the Epiphany Day School?
There will be all new bright classrooms and play spaces! Classes and instruction at CEDS will continue uninterrupted in the current Epiphany space on York Avenue until both the building renovation at 351 East 74th Street and the 2020-2021 school year are complete. CEDS is looking forward to moving prior to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year into its expanded and modernized classroom space located on the upper floors of 351 East 74th Street. CEDS will also have dedicated and secure elevator access, a gymnasium and outdoor play space.
Q: Why is all this happening?
Church of the Epiphany is a vibrant and growing parish but just does not have enough space for its ministry, outreach programs and Day School. If you have opened a closet or looked closely at the back of the nave, Epiphany’s current state of crowding is very apparent. Storage is a luxury. Moving one block west will also give Epiphany an additional 15,000 square feet and some much needed breathing room. The proceeds from this sale will allow Epiphany to renovate the property at 351 East 74th Street, close its intractable and unsustainable operating budget gap, and grow its ministry within the community.
Q: Who is in charge of the Project?
The Vestry of Church of the Epiphany, under the by-laws of the Episcopal Church, with their newly appointed Interim Rector, the Rev. Roy Cole, will oversee the project. Fr. Cole came to Epiphany in February from St. John’s Episcopal Church on Staten Island. Fr. Cole is familiar with large construction projects, completing the six-story Canterbury House, an 84-bedroom apartment building for senior citizens, while he was Rector at St. John’s. He has also served on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York.
Q: When will all this happen? What’s the timeline?
Jan Hus will move to its new space during the summer of 2019. Following all inspections and alteration filings by Epiphany during the Pre-Construction Phase, actual construction is scheduled to begin in September 2019 and continue for about 17 months. Right now Epiphany is scheduled to move in the Spring of 2021, with the Church of the Epiphany Day School following after the close of the school year.
Q: Who did Epiphany choose as the architect for 351 East 74th Street?
Epiphany chose Acheson Doyle Partners Architects LLP, a New York City-based architecture firm with a wide range of experience with historic preservation, institutional, and commercial projects. ADP’s projects in New York City include restoration and improvements at St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the NYU Student Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, and the Church of the Sacred Hear of Jesus and Mary, among others.
Below are three examples of Acheson Doyle's work in New York City, left to right are: restoration of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church; the nave of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary; and, the reception area of the NYU Student Center for Academic and Spiritual Life.
Q: What is the thinking about plans for the new Epiphany site?
Epiphany will redesign the sanctuary and interior spaces of the building at 351 East 74th Street, improving street access to the interior, adding three elevators, meeting rooms, a chapel and columbarium, and, for the Church of the Epiphany Day School, expanded and modernized classrooms on the upper levels with full and secure elevator access. A new organ will be installed in the sanctuary, and the gymnasium rebuilt for use of the parish, the school, and community programs. The renovation will also include a rebuilt stage with state-of-the-art digital AV for small presentations, readings or lectures. The exterior will be lovingly restored with a focus on accessibility from the street. Drawings of rooms and architects’ plans will be on this website as they become available.
Q: Will Epiphany continue its outreach and social Programs in the Community?
Yes! Epiphany will continue its banner ministry, the Wednesday Homeless Dinner Program, feeding the hungry and homeless as it has every week since 1985. The Church of the Epiphany Day School will be able to expand its student body. And, the parish will continue to host community meetings, 12-step groups, and local athletic groups.
Q: What can we take to our new location from York Avenue?
Parishioners have memories of Epiphany, and the parish has carried many tangible things along as it has moved through five different locations since its founding in downtown Manhattan in 1833. Epiphany is seriously considering its windows, memorial plaques, and architectural fixtures for relocation. Churchgoers are currently voicing what they would like to preserve at the new location. Be sure to attend one of our upcoming community meetings, or contact us at [email protected].
Please continue to check back for updates to this ongoing conversation. You can contribute your own questions and comments at [email protected].