Councilmember Margaret Chin honored the First Chinese Presbyterian Church yesterday, as it officially turned 100 years old, with a City Council Proclamation. Chin was at the historic Birthday Party earlier this summer (along with The New York Times, which profiled the congregarion’s oldest member here).
In her remarks during yesterday’s council meeting, Chin noted, “I remembered reading about Rev. Huie Kin, the founding pastor of the Church in 1910 and his work in Chinatown helping the Chinese immigrant workers who were strangers in a strange land with all kinds of needs. The church embodies his spirit to this day in their community service programs, including English classes, citizenship courses, homecare and housekeeper services assisting the elderly and recent immigrants.”
Text of the proclamation:
The Council of the City of New York is proud to honor the First Chinese Presbyterian Church of New York City for a century of extraordinary service and leadership to the community; and
WHEREAS: On December 18th, 1910, the First Chinese Presbyterian Church was organized as part of the New York City Presbytery and Reverend Huie Kin, a revered missionary for the Chinese community, was installed as its first pastor; and
WHEREAS: Located in the heart of Chinatown, the First Chinese Presbyterian Church of New York City has deep roots in its community that can be traced as far back as 1816, when the land for the current building was donated by Colonel Henry Rutgers to the Dutch Reformed Church. Its building was founded on 1817 and dedicated two years later. With walls built of stones and bricks, the church building is one of a few remaining examples of vernacular Georgian architecture; and
WHEREAS: In 1864, the Dutch Reformed Church disbanded and the building was purchased by Hanson K. Corning two years later. It was then transferred to the Trustees of New York Presbytery to be occupied by the Church of Sea and Land, which served the dockworkers and longshoreman in the area. Over the years, this house of worship has been a consistent, welcoming haven for spiritual nourishment even as its surrounding community changed. Ministry services have been instituted for Italians, Greeks, Russians, Hispanics, and others; and
WHEREAS: In 1951, the First Chinese Presbyterian Church moved to its current location by sharing the church building with the Sea and Land Church. In 1966, both the church building and the Erben Pipe Organ within it were officially declared historic landmarks. After the Sea and Land Church dissolved in 1972, the building was loaned to the First Chinese Presbyterian Church to use free-of-charge. Two years later, the Presbytery of New York City gave this historic building to the First Chinese Presbyterian Church in appreciation of its membership growth and the success of its programs that serve the Chinese immigrants; and
WHEREAS: Today, under the leadership of Reverend Laura Jervis, the First Chinese Presbyterian Church of New York City remains a vibrant, welcoming house of worship and continues to serve as bedrock in the lives of countless New Yorkers. Its commitment to the community has been felt for a century through its profound support and outreach to its parish. The First Chinese Presbyterian Church of New York City has truly enriched us all with its presence and its great legacy deserves the enduring gratitude of all New Yorkers; now, therefore
BE IT KNOWN: That the Council of the City of New York honors
The First Chinese Presbyterian Church of New York City on the glorious occasion of its 100th Anniversary for its outstanding service and contributions to the community.
Signed this 13th day of October in the year Two Thousand and Ten.
CHRISTINE C. QUINN, Speaker
For the Entire Council
Council Member, 1st District