Churches in Harlem and East Harlem have been very much in the news, due to declining membership and deteriorating buildings, and numerous sales of these properties. And so, when a reader told us that the historic bells were recently removed from St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, we were more than curious ~ and delighted to learn that the carillon is on its way to South Carolina for evaluation and restoration. A representative of the Diocese went on to say that their first order of business will be to stabilize the tower and interior space, with scaffolding going up inside the building next week.
We checked in with the Diocese again in September, 2021, and they were eager to share that they are continuing the restoration, with their main focus on restoring the tower, fixing the roof and otherwise making it possible for the congregation to move back in. The bells remain out of state at the bell foundry, where restoration is underway.
Continuing the good news, In November, 2021, Amsterdam News reported that St. Martin’s was one of 18 receiving a Sacred Site Grant from The New York Landmarks Conservancy. St. Martin’s was pledged a $25,000 grant towards roof replacement at the attached parish hall, and $15,000 to help support architectural work for the project, per New York Landmarks Conservancy.
And finally, in a recent interview Rev. Patrick Williams said that scaffolding is coming down because the roof work has concluded. However, there is still quite a lot of work to be done, as the restoration continues.
We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but the renovation work at St. Martin’s Church continues. Above and below, workers were spotting high on the top scaffolding on Thursday, October 22, 2020.