History

church1The Episcopal Church Of The Crucifixion has been witnessing to God’s presence and love for over ninety-nine years.

The Church building was consecrated — that is set apart for the worship of God, and over the years has never failed to be just that — “A House of Prayer,” with its doors open in welcome to everyone. It has a unique history; originally the membership was predominately of West Indian background.

However, the Church of the Crucifixion has never classified its parish as “A West Indian Parish,” but a Parish where all people may come and worship God in Spirit and Truth.

The Church of the Crucifixion was founded by West Indians who had immigrated from the Caribbean and did not feel welcomed in the established Episcopal Churches in the Harlem area.

Jedediah Edmead, an immigrant from St. Kitts, British West Indies, at age 40, entered Seminary and upon completion of his studies was ordained as a priest.

On the First Sunday in Advent in the year 1916, the Rev. Jedediah Edmead along with a few women held their first assembly in the living room in an apartment building on Madison Avenue. He led the congregation in worship and served as Parish Priest until his retirement twenty years later.

It was largely due to the generosity of Mrs. Mabel Gerry drury, that the parish was maintained.

In 1920, a building located at 41 West 140th Street was purchased and services were held there for more than seventeen years.

On January 6, 1921, the congregation was incorporated under the name of the Chapel of the Crucifixion.

On April 30, 1930 the Chapel of the Crucifixion relinquished all appropriations and support given to it by the Diocesan Mission and Church Extension Society, and made application to the Diocesan Convention on May 9, 1930, for admission as a parish into the Diocese. Upon acceptance its name was changed to The Church of the Crucifixion.

After the death of Fr. Edmead in 1935, the Rev. Hugh Henry took over as Supply Priest.

On January 12, 1936, the Rev. Egerton E. Hall and immigrant from Barbados, British West Indies, took charge as Parish Priest.

On June 30, 1937 the mortgage of the building at 41 West 140th Street was satisfied. Soon after, a red brick Gothic building that had been known as the Hamilton Grange Dutch Reformed Church on 149th Street and Convent Avenue was purchased.

The First Sunday in Advent in 1937, the tenth Bishop of the Diocese of New York, the Rt. Rev. William Thomas Manning, D.D. assisted by the Rev. Egerton E. Hall,
conducted the “formal opening service in the new church home.

Once being free of debt, on the “Feast of Finding of the Holy Cross,” May 3, 1945 the Church was consecrated.

During the illness of Fr. Hall, the Rev. Charles Levy was called upon to act as Supply Priest, and after Fr. Hall’s death in November 1951, the Rev. Chiron W. Forsyth, an immigrant from Grenada, British West Indies, responded to the call by the Vestry.

In January 1952, Fr. Forsyth became the third Parish Priest of the Church where he continued the practice of the Anglo-Catholic traditions, which had been the practice from inception.

On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1963, the parishioners came face to face with their biggest challenge as a fire destroyed the Church.

Under the leadership of Fr. Forsyth, Mr. John S. Bayley, the Senior Warden, and Ms. Vera V. Haywood, the Treasurer, the parishioners were determined that they would rebuild their church.

Prior to the fire the membership was 550 parishioners, after the fire membership declined as some parishioners relocated, along with the death of many.

The doors to the Church of the Crucifixion was reopened in April 1969, in a very unique and modern building which was designed by the talented Greek architect, Mr. Costa Machlouzarides.

Fr. Forsyth’s leadership continued until his retirement in 1986, after thirty-four years of service. He died on February 9, 2000.

For a brief period in 1986, after Fr. Forsyth retirement, the Rev. A. Eric Joseph who immigrated from Antigua, British West Indies, served for two months as Supply Priest, and was later called on April 25, 1987 to be the fourth Parish Priest.

On July 1, 1987, Fr. Joseph took office; on his arrival he met a parish that had drastically declined in membership. The average Sunday’s attendance was fifty-four, mainly middle age to elderly (40-90), and there were very few young adults or youth (5 or 8) in the parish.

On February 21, 1988 the present edifice was dedicated and Fr. Joseph installed as the new Rector. The Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, the twelfth Bishop of the Diocese of New York officiated at the ceremony.

The Church of the Crucifixion was noted throughout the years for its high quality of liturgical music under the direction of Edward H. Margetson, after his death under the leadership of organist/choirmasters: Cecil G. Herbert, Seth Kasten, Walter Killmer Jr., John Bauer, Sidney Joseph, Robert Semper, and presently James Adams.

The Church has an extensive Christian Education Ministry with Bible Study classes on the first and third Saturdays of the month, Sunday school and Youth Ministry programs for our teens and young children, a continuous year-round Stewardship program, and many community outreach programs such as an Emergency Food Pantry, Narcotics Anonymous Meetings, a Child-care Center, a visitation of the sick and shut-ins ministry and others.

The church is also noted for working closely with the New York Police Department, and other community organizations.

The opportunities for service in the parish and community continue to present challenges to the Church of the Crucifixion, but under the dedication and leadership of its Rector will continue to face them in the Honor and Glory of God.

The Rev. Eric A. Joseph, retired after 25 years of service on September 30, 2012.

To-date we do not have a full time priest, but the Rev. Curtis Hart has been serving as a Supply Priest for nearly three years. It is a pleasure to let you know that the Church of the Crucifixion is still a vibrant Church trying to do God’s mission hear in the Harlem Area.