Methodists find new home nearby
By Albert Amateau
More than 120 men and women attended the last worship service of the Washington Square United Methodist Church in the historic building at 135 W. Fourth St. on Sun., Nov. 7, and then marched in procession two blocks away to a new home in the New York University Catholic Center.
After 144 years of continuous use as a house or worship, a dwindling congregation and a decaying building generated financial strains that have forced the congregation to put the building up for sale.
Though negotiations are underway with several potential buyers, the building has not yet been sold, said Rev. Bryan Hooper, pastor of the church. However, the congregation decided to move when an opportunity presented itself to worship two blocks away.
Washington Square United Methodist is renting space in the Catholic Center, a move made possible because the Catholic Archdiocese earlier this year merged the N.Y.U. Catholic Center with St. Josephs Church on Sixth Ave. between Waverly and Washington Pl. Catholic worship in the merged parish is at St. Josephs.
The Rev. John McGuire, pastor of the merged parish, greeted the United Methodist worshipers on Nov. 7 and welcomed them to their new home.
While the Methodist worship will take place in the Catholic Center on Washington Sq. S. at 11 a.m. on Sundays, other ministries of the church will remain in the 1860 church building a half-block west of Washington Sq. Park until new homes are found for them, Hooper said.
The congregation is looking for new locations for the feeding program serving free hot meals five days a week, Kairos Café an arts program that takes place on the second Sunday of each month and an adult education program.
The old church is in the Greenwich Village Historic District, which means demolition is virtually prohibited.