Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Association, Inc.

THE CHURCHES OF WOODLAWN HEIGHTS (compiled circa 1980s)

THE CHURCHES OF WOODLAWN HEIGHTS (compiled circa 1980s)

 

A unique feature of this compact community is the presence of five established Churches within its geographic boundaries. These institutions have had a profound influence on the historical development of the area.  All religious institutions are listed in order of their chronological establishment in the community.

 

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ST. LUKE’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

241st Street and Katonah Avenue Woodlawn Heights, Bronx, N.Y.

Telephone 324-8436; Parsonage 994-7037

PASTOR: Rev. Christoph Schmauch

St. Luke's has no geographic boundaries and has an approximate present membership of 100.

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Sunday - 11:00 A.M.

Additional services held on appropriate Christian Festival days.

 

PARISH CLUBS, SOCIETIES and ORGANIZATIONS

Women's Society of Christian Service Altar Guild

Prior to the coming of street lights, city water or schools… the first Church built in Woodlawn Heights was organized in January of 1875, at the home of Peter Curry. It was initially called the Woodlawn Heights Methodist Episcopal Church. Edwin K. Willard donated property at the brow of the hill between Katonah and Kepler, Avenues, on 237th Street. A cornerstone was laid in late December 1875, and the Church was completed the following year. Bishop James dedicated the Church on Easter Sunday, in April, of 1876; and Reverend De Witt C. Van Gaasbeck was appointed first pastor.

 

It is reported that all denominations attended The Little Church on the Hill.

 

As early as 1880, the Sunday school registration listed over 50 children with eleven teachers and officers.

 

During 1890, a parsonage was built on property adjoining the old Church. An addition was made to the east side of the Church in 1892 because of the growing parish. The membership increased so rapidly that even the expanded facility proved inadequate. A new site was sought to build a larger and more permanent building. Property at 241st Street and Katonah Avenue was acquired and a new Church erected in 1913, where it stands today at the top of the hill.

For a few years the old church building was used as an annex for the Woodlawn Public School. The building was razed in the 1920's after the new Public School was built on Katonah Avenue.

In 1934, the Mott Avenue Methodist Church was torn down because of widening of the Grand Concourse, and the two churches merged. Rev. A. H. Nesbitt, minister of the Mott Avenue Church was the New York City Police Chaplain. He came to Woodlawn and initiated extensive repairs to the Church.

 

The name was changed in 1934 to St. Luke's Methodist Episcopal Church. With the combining of the three major Methodist de- nominations in 1939, Episcopal was dropped from the name. The present parsonage on 240th Street was purchased in 1952 to fill the needs of Ministers.

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ST. STEPHEN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

439 East 238th Street Woodlawn Heights, N.Y.

Telephone FA4-0996

PASTOR:. Reverend Henry Gordon Macdonald

St. Stephen's parish serves Woodlawn Heights and the nearby surrounding areas. The approximate parish membership is 87 families.

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Sundays -8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 A.M.

Weekdays - Tuesday 10:00 A.M.

Additional services held on appropriate Holy Days.

PARISH CLUBS, SOCIETIES and ORGANIZATIONS

Women's Guild Jr. Brotherhood of St. Andrew

Altar Guild Jr. Girl’s Friendly Society

Men's Work Group Episcopal Young People's Fellowship

Brotherhood of St. Andrew Senior Young People's Fellowship

The Choir Parnet Teacher Fellowship

 

St. Stephen's was the second church to be built in Woodlawn. The first services in this parish were held in a rented store on Webster Avenue and 234th Street, on Sunday, May 23, 1897. The Reverend Ralph H. Baldwin officiated and slightly more than 100 persons attended. The chapel was named the Chapel of Advent.

 

The original group split into two factions. One side wished independence from the Bishop and the Dioceses and eventually held their own services in Varian's Hall. This congregation was formally accepted into the Reformed Episcopal Church and built a church at 414 East 236th Street, calling it St. Paul's. This congregation remained active until about 1910 when it disbanded.

 

The other faction continued holding services in the store front chapel, and on December 10, 1897 secured their first vicar, Reverend Stephen Van Rensselaer. On his leaving, the chapel was renamed St. Stephen's in his honor.

 

The Church was moved to a house at 228 East 238th Street, under the second vicar, the Reverend Edward C. Parrott, in 1898.

 

The present Church site at 439 East 238th Street was purchased in 1899 and the cornerstone was laid on Christmas Day, 1900. The Church was completed the following year.

 

There were several interim pastors during the young church's first years, until the Reverend Percival McIntire arrived early in 1903. He undertook much of the organization needed to sustain the congregation, and initiated a fund to erect a vicarage for this mission. Rev. McIntire was succeeded by Rev. Robert W. Cochrane in 1914, who liquidated the Church debt and built a vicarage in 1922. Rev. Cochrane served St. Stephen's until his retirement in the fall of 1938.

 

The history of the parish entered a new phase with the appointment of the Rev. F. Gray Garten in November 1941, who was advanced to the Priesthood in February of 1943.

A petition to become a self-supporting parish was accepted by the Bishop and St. Stephen's was formally admitted into the diocese and consecrated in the spring of 1945, with Rev. Garten as its Rector. The rectory was remodeled in 1947 and stands today adjacent to the Church.

 

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ST. BARNABAS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

409 East 241st Street Woodlawn Heights, N. Y.

Telephone 342-1478

PASTOR: Rt. Reverend Monsignor John J. Considine

St. Barnabas Parish is one of the largest within the Archdiocese of New York. Parish boundaries within the City of New York are identical to those of Woodlawn Heights and in Yonkers to most of the area comprising McLean Heights. The approximate Parish membership is 15,000.

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Sundays - 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM hourly--- Main Church

10:30 AM to 12:30 PM on half hour--- Lower Church

9:00 AM to 1:00 hourly--- High School Chapel

5:00 PM--- High School Chapel

Weekdays- 6:30, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 AM--- Main Church

Additional services held on Catholic Holy Days and on first Fridays of each month.

PARISH CLUBS, SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Men's Club Boy Scouts - Troop 102

Young Adult Club Cub Scouts - Pack 102

Association of Concerned Teens Girl Scouts

Parish Council Brownies and numerous religious societies

 

The parish was established June 11, 1910, on the feast of St. Barnabas and was placed under the patronage of this saint with Rev. Michael A. Reilly, named as founder and pastor.

 

Prior to this time, the area was served as an out-mission for about a year by Rev. Francis Moore, Ph.D., the pastor of St. Francis of Rome in Wakefield. Services were held in a store at the junction of Webster Avenue and 240th Street. The initial congregation was about 360.

 

Under Father Reilly's leadership, a Church of Roman architecture and a rectory was completed in 1911. The congregation continually grew and St. Barnabas became one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese. Father Reilly was elevated to the rank of Monsignor and served until his passing in 1947. Under his guidance, elementary and high schools serving the community were established.

Monsignor George H. McWeeney became the second pastor of St. Barnabas and served the parish until 1965, when he succumbed, being in failing health for a number of years. The present pastor, Monsignor John J. Considine, came to St. Barnabas in 1965.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WOODLAWN HEIGHTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

4371 Martha Avenue Woodlawn Heights, N. Y.

Telephone 324-4181

PASTOR: Reverend Campbell Sheil

Woodlawn Heights Presbyterian Church has no special geographic boundaries, although it serves primarily area residents. The approximate church membership is around 300.

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Sundays - 11:00 A.M.

Sundays - 9:30 A.M. Sunday School

Additional services held on appropriate Christian Holidays.

 

CHURCH CLUBS, SOCXETIES and ORGANIZATIONS

Women's Guild Youth Group

Men's Club Youth Budget Committee

 

In the spring of 1911, a group of men and women of Presbyterian background formed a committee and began holding services in private homes. The first official services, conducted for the public, were held in Hopewell Hall, on 240th Street, on May 21st of that year, with Reverend Stevenson presiding.

 

For some time Ministerial help came from Yonkers until the Presbytery of New York took an interest in the enterprise. The year 1912 marked a steady growth in Church membership, resulting in a formal organization of the Church in January of 1913.

 

A lot was purchased during that year on the northwest corner of 240th Street and Martha Avenue. The cornerstone was laid on September 28, 1913. On May 10th of the following year, the Church was dedicated and the keys were presented to the first Pastor, Reverend W. F. Daun. At this time the membership was approximately 140, with a Sunday School enrollment of about 200. Reverend Daun resigned in January, 1919, and it wasn't until June of that year that Reverend Charles B. Schwartz replaced him as pastor. By January 1922, membership had increased to 230. Reverend Schwartz served until February of 1924 and had placed the Church on a firm footing, making it largely self-supporting.

 

Reverend Newman Hess became the Church's third pastor in April 1924 and served in this capacity for the following thirty-two years, until 1956.

The Reverend Campbell Sheil was installed as Pastor in1957 and presently continues in this capacity.

 

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ST. MARK'S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

Kimball Avenue and St. Mark's Place Yonkers, New York

Telephone BE7-8199 School Telephone BE7-4944

PASTORS: Rev. Richard E. Johnson and Rev. Adolph P. Meyer

St. Mark's Parish is in the Missouri Synod and has no geographic boundaries, although it serves primarily residents of the immediate area. The approximate parish membership is 1,100 - with Communicants numbering 610 at this time.

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Sundays - 8:30 and 11:00 A.M.

Wednesdays - 3:15 and 8:00 P.M. during Lent

Wednesdays - 9:00 A.M. - School Chapel Service throughout school year

Additional services held on appropriate Christian Festival days.

PARISH CLUBS, SOCIETIES and ORGANIZATIONS

Ladies' Aid Society Cub Scouts- Pack 7

Sunshine Society Girl Scouts - Troop 9

Church Council Girl Scouts - Troop 244

Voting Body Brownies - Troop 277

Senior Choir Boy Scouts - Troop 7

Junior Intermediate Choir Walther League Society

 

St. Mark's began as a store front mission on McLean Avenue, when services were held for the first time on November 16, 1911.

 

The following year the Reverend Theodore Ortman was installed as the first pastor and the mission was placed under the Mission Board of Atlantic District. In 1913 the Mission received a new pastor, Rev. O. H. Trinklein who moved the Mission to Hopewell Hall on East 240th Street. A building fund was started in 1914 and two lots were purchased the following year at Martha Avenue and 242nd Street. In October of 1916, the Parish House Chapel was dedicated upon its completion.

 

Pastor Trinklein left in 1921 to be succeeded for a two-year period by Rev. Arthur Herbert.

 

On July 29, 1923, newly ordained Adolf F. Meyer became St. Mark's fourth pastor. Under his dedicated leadership, St. Mark's developed to what it is today. In 1925 six lots were purchased at the site of the present church. The first unit of the church was completed and dedicated in December of 1932. Eight years later, the cornerstone of the main church was laid and the Church was fully opened. Dedication ceremonies took place in November of 1940. Additional property encompassing all land between the parish house and the main church was purchased.

 

A parsonage to house the pastor and his family was completed in 1957.

Pastor Meyer stepped down in 1968, after 43 fruitful years, his dreams fulfilled. Reverend Richard E. Johnson became St. Mark's fifth pastor in March of 1968.

 

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JEWISH CENTER OF WAKEFIELD AND EDENWALD

641 East 233rd Street Bronx, New York

Telephone 324-9679;  324-8062

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin W. Helfgott

 

The Jewish Center has no special geographic boundaries but serves primarily residents of Wakefield, Edenwald and Woodlawn areas, comprising about 530 families.

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Saturdays - 9.00 A.M.

Daily- 6:45 A.M.

Sunday - 8:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M.

Additional services are held on appropriate Jewish Holidays.

 

CENTER CLUBS, SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Men's Club Golden Age Club

Ladies' Auxiliary Club Esther Yound Judea

Club Maccabees Boy Scouts - Troop 238

 

In the summer of 1928, a group of Wakefield residents who had been attending services in a loft on White Plains Avenue, near 236th Street, at the Anshe Amas Congregation, decided to start their own Center. They rented a store on 237th Street in Wakefield and High Holiday services were held there. This proved to be the beginnings of the local Jewish Community Center. Benjamin W. Helfgott of Yeshiva University was engaged to conduct Sabbath services and instruct children. An apartment over a store at 4406 White Plains Avenue was rented and used as a synagogue and school in the early days. Before the end of the first year, this determined group had erected its own building on 4395 Byron Avenue.

 

A renewed spirit revived the Center in the late 1930's following the trying depression years, when the North Bronx Jewish Club became affiliated with the Center. In 1940 plans were made to find larger and more comfortable facilities for the Center and Hopewell Temple on 233rd Street was acquired. Rabbi Helfgott, who had been with the Center from its beginning, interrupted his stay in December of 1943 and did not return until September of 1947. He has continued to serve this congregation from that time to the present day. Through the ensuing years, the congregation had thrived and grown markedly. Today, the Center offers an extensive program of religious, scholastic and community activities for Jewish residents in the North Bronx area.

Posted by kennethwong on 12/16/2015
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