HOLYROOD EPISCOPAL CHURCH

by
James Renner

 The Holyrood Church on Fort Washington Avenue and 179th Street is the second building that bears the name of this house of Worship.  Originally located on Broadway and 181st Street the Holyrood Church has serves as one of the Episcopal churches in this community for over a century. 

 The Church was founded in 1893 by Reverend William Oliver Embury who was chaplain of The House of Refuge for Problem Girls and was operated by the Sisters of Saint Mary in Inwood Hill Park.  Reverend Embury wanted to have a new Episcopal Parish in the area.  With the help of some friends he went about to carry out his plans.

 On November 16, 1901 the church was involved with the dedication of the Fort Washington Memorial Plaque.  This plaque is located on the Fort Washington side of Bennett Park which was once the property of James Gordon Bennett.  Bennett Park is located on Fort Washington Avenue between 183rd and 185th Street. There had been a procession from the church when it was at the Broadway location.  The bell in the Parish House reflects the story of the War for Independence with a quote; "ON BATTLEFIELD, WHERE FOEMEN FELL, THE GLORIOUS TALE OF PEACE I TELL"  According to Frederick Cookinham a local tour guide of the area that on the stained glass window is a five pointed rose design to commemorate the fort.

 Within the present structure are various artifacts which are of historic value to this  church.  For instance, there is a cross that was used in the original church.  The cornerstone of  the Parish House has two dates 1903 and 1914 with an inscription from St. James II, XX which states  FAITH WITHOUT WORK IS DEAD. 

 There is a plaque in the church that few people are aware of in its existence that honors Margaret Corbin heroine of the battle of Fort Washington at Fort Tryon Park.  This memorial was made by the Daughters of the American Revolution and is located on the south wall of the church.  It reads as follows;  TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN PATRIOTIC REMEMBRANCE OF MARGARET CORBIN AT THE BATTLE OF FORT WASHINGTON NOVEMBER 16, 1776.  SHE STOOD BY HER HUSBAND, JOHN CORBIN, ARTILLERY MAN, DURING THE HESSIAN ASSAULT AND AFTER HE WAS KILLED SHE SERVED HIS GUN UNTIL SHE WAS WOUNDED. ERECTED BY THE MARY WASHINGTON COLONIAL CHAPTER APRIL 3, 1902.

 When Holyrood was at the Broadway location it had a monthly newsletter which was by subscription for $1. per year. Reginald Pelham Bolton, the noted civil engineer and historian was the editor of the newsletter.

 In the basement of the church is the Alianza Dominicana Family Center which is an outreach program for the Dominican community.  For several, years a Catholic congregation shared the space of the church for services. Reverend Thomas Rudny was pastor to this group. This group has moved to other quarters in the city.  In 1993 the sidewalk was repaved with funds bequeathed to the church for that purpose of new steps and a ramp added for the physically handicapped.

 Holyrood Church is located on Fort Washington Avenue and 179th Street.  Services on Sunday are 11:00 AM in English and at 1:00 PM in Spanish.  Reverend Martha Anderson is the minister for Holyrood.  On Thursday evenings  at 7:30 PM services in Spanish are conducted. 

 The Parish House is located at 715 West 179th Street and can be reached at 923-3770.  The church can be accessed at  http://home.nyc.rr.com/holyrood
e-mail is holyroodnyc@yahoo.com.  Holyrood is a part of the Episcopal Church.  The Episcopal Church's website is www.ecusa.anglican.org. The telephone number for the Alianza Dominicana Family Center is (212) 795-4226.  For more information on Bennett Park and James Gordon Bennett logon to the website of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation at www.nyc.gov/parks.
 


 



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