A historic church in Lower Manhattan that includes Liberty Bell, New York, whose patronage dates back to the early days of the city, and was devoured by a massive fire that set the roof on fire.
The middle church in the eastern village burnt down before dawn after a fire broke out in a vacant five-story building adjacent to the church at around 5 a.m. Fire burst out from the ceiling and the grandiose front window of the church glowed from the fire inside.
We have been destroyed. We have been destroyed like our building. Reverend Jacqueline J. Lewis said, “Our hearts are broken like our doors are broken.” But we know how to be a church, and we know that God is God
The fire department said in a post on Instagram that there were four light injuries to the firefighters and that guards were investigating the fire.
Built in 1892, the church is home to the oldest congregation of collegiate churches in New York, which dates back to Dutch settlement of the island in the 1620s, according to the church’s website.
Central Collegiate Church has been in two other Manhattan sites since 1729.
The bell tower houses the “Liberty Bell” in New York, which was ringed to commemorate the birth of the nation in 1776, and since then American presidents have been inaugurated and killed and events such as 9/11 commemorations, according to the church.
Lewis thought the bell survived the fire but was not sure. Church Secretary Amanda Ashcraft told WABC that Tiffany’s stained glass windows are gone.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the fire was “heartbreaking” and pledged: “We will do everything we can to help the Middle Collegiate rebuild.”
Lewis said the fate of the church building is unclear, but the ministry will continue.“Our church has been digitally worshiping since March 15th,” Lewis said. “This is what we will do tomorrow