State Street Presbyterian Church

Religious / New Jersey

State Street Presbyterian Church is an abandoned and historic Presbyterian church in Trenton, New Jersey, active from 1874 to 1993. It was reused by another church until 2007.

The actual name of the location has been modified to protect the location as much as possible from vandalism.

History

The number of Presbyterians in Trenton had grown strongly during the mid-1850’s, with two churches located at the centre of town and the others near the southern and eastern boundaries of the city. 4 The west side of Trenton was left underserved, and members of the First Church had organized and conducted a Sunday school which met in unoccupied houses on West State Street. On August 11, 1874, the cornerstone of a Presbyterian church on State Street was laid, and on April 25, 1875, the new State Street Presbyterian Church was organized with 35 members. Walter A. Brooks, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Bloomington, was ordained and installed as pastor on October 14.

The State Street Presbyterian Church grew to be the largest Presbyterian congregation in the city by the early 1900’s. 1 2 But by the mid-1940’s, much of the original congregation began relocating to more wealthy suburbs 3 and were replaced with African-Americans who were steadily moving to the northern states from the south. 2 The newer congregational members were often poorer and not able adequately donate to the church, leading to deferred maintenance of the sanctuary. By the 1990’s, the structure needed extensive repairs

The State Street Presbyterian Church closed on August 1, 1993, while the Presbytery explored ways of financing repairs to the complex. Essential repairs to the sanctuary’s roof were finished in 1994 but the Presbytery was unable to secure funding for the remainder.

The Imani Community Church was chartered on June 4, 1994, and opened in the former Presbyterian church with 77 members. 1 The Afro-centric church and community centre steadily grew to 100 members by 1998 but the high maintenance costs of the building led to its eventual closure in August 2006. The community centre remained open for events until 2007, when the complex was sold.

In April 2015, the city acquired the church through an “in rem” foreclosure and put out a request for proposals for its redevelopment in August. 1


Sources

  1. Rojas, Christina. “Proposals sought to redevelop neglected Trenton church.” NJ.com, 11 Aug. 2015.
  2. Ginsburg, Elisabeth. “Churches Face Ravages of Age And Neglect.” New York Times, 1 Aug. 1993, p.NJ1.
  3. “Urban Church is Seen Losing Membership.” New York Times, 16 Oct. 1946, p. 29.
  4. “1859-1884.” History of the Presbyterian Church in Trenton, N.J., by John Hall and Mary Anna Hall, 2nd ed., MacCrellish & Quigley, 1912, pp. 266–267.