Leading New York church with openly gay priest up for Partners in Preservation award to restore historic iron portico
New York, NY (PRWEB) May 04, 2012
St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, led by The Rev. Winnie Varghese, who is an out lesbian, is one of 40 New York landmarks chosen from more than 500 competitors to compete for a portion of $3 million in grant money marked for historic preservation projects through Partners in Preservation. The landmarks are competing in an online voting contest, and grant money will be awarded based on votes gathered and support demonstrated for each facility.
Varghese is the first openly gay Rector at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, but the church has a long history of supporting gay rights and welcomes all visitors interested in worshiping with the congregation. Rev. Varghese has regularly advocated for gay rights, including equal marriage.
“I’m so proud to be able to lead such a progressive, welcoming congregation,” Varghese said. “It’s an honor to be nominated for this grant, and I’m grateful that I have such a supportive community to call on as we work to win it.”
Under Varghese’s leadership in recent years, the St. Mark’s congregation has experienced rapid growth. The church is the oldest site of continuous worship in New York. A long line of notable architects have contributed to the church’s design, including James Renwick, Jr., the famed architect of the “Castle” in the Smithsonian Institute and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If successful in the contest, St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery plans to use the grant funds to restore the circa 1858 cast iron portico that serves as the church’s entry way. The cast iron in the portico is attributed to James Bogardus, noted early proponent and innovator of cast iron construction.
St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery is located in New York City’s East Village, at the intersection of 10th Street and Second Avenue. The property has been the site of continuous Christian worship for more than three-and-a-half-centuries and is the second-oldest church building in Manhattan. The church’s buildings and burial grounds were designated a New York City Landmark in 1966, and the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.