Fast Facts

Snippets About Areas Of Special Interest

Technology

The initiative to build a new website for Saint Peter’s Church began in 2008. The site was completed August, 2011. This same website received substantial updates in January, 2014 aimed at making it more “social media” friendly. These updates also made possible the building of a website for Midtown Arts Common and a digital display system throughout the Church building.

Yoshiki Waterhouse and Beatriz Cifuentes designed the website. They are part of Vignelli Associates, the same firm that in the 1970s designed the interior and graphic identity of Saint Peter’s Church. KRATE Development and Design completed the programming, including a custom-built event and multimedia content management system.

The Church’s first website was launched in the late 1990s. The first networked computer was installed at Saint Peter’s Church in the early 1990s.

Social Services

The Senior Center at Saint Peter’s Church was founded under the leadership of Pastor Amandus Derr on September 12, 2001.

In the 1980s, the Momentum Project was founded under the leadership of Peter Avitiable and Pastor John S. Damm, to meet the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS. In those same years the Tuesday morning breakfast feeding program began.

In 1943 Pastor Russell Auman was called to serve Saint Peter’s Church. In this period, Saint Peter’s Church provided food and shelter to World Word II servicemen from all over the world.

Music

Thomas Schmidt became Director of Music and Cantor in 1990. Under his leadership Saint Peter’s music program was revitalized, including a new Bach Festival in 1993.

The late Gordon Jones, former Cantor, began the now-traditional singing of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion on Good Friday by shepherding the choir through the work one movement at a time. The project was finally completed by the present Cantor, Thomas Schmidt, in 2007.

Ike Strum became Director of Music for the Jazz Ministry in 2005. His leadership has revitalized jazz at Saint Peter’s Church. In 2007, Ike completed a full-length Jazz Mass to critical acclaim.

Today, Tom and Ike collaborate extensively on a variety of projects.

Pastors

Dale Lind, Emeritus Pastor to the Jazz Community, is perhaps best known for having tended bar for so many years at his place on Bleeker Street in Greenwhich Village called Preachers. He also owned interests in The Bitter End and The Other End. As a pastor he preached about The Final End. Dale has a knack for humor.

In 1982, Pastor John S. Damm was called to serve Saint Peter’s Church. Together with Pastor John Garcia Gensel, the church constantly experimented with the new building and met the changing needs of the new midtown community.

In the 1960s, Pastor Ralph Peterson and Pastor John Garcia Gensel formed a clergy team that would lead to the new Saint Peter’s Church building (consecrated, 1977) and the internationally-known jazz ministry at Saint Peter’s Church (established, 1964).

Members of the Moldenke family served Saint Peter’s Church as pastors for 72 years (1871-1943): Pastor Edward Friedrich Moldenke and his son, Pastor Alfred B. Moldenke. The Church’s first pastor was Christian Hennicke (1862 -1871).

Language

By the 1920s, English replaced German as the principle language of Saint Peter’s Church. In 1925 the church’s legal name changed from German (Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Sanct Petri-Kirche) to English (Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church of Manhattan). Today, English and Spanish are the primary languages of Saint Peter’s Church. Pastor Hector Ribone began a weekly misa en español in 1996. In 2012, Saint Peter’s Church entered into a covenant relationship with Iglesia de Sion, a then-homeless Spanish-speaking congregation displaced from its original location in Spanish Harlem. For the past several years, the communities have been living into an ever-deepening relationship.

Church buildings

The feed and grocery store in which the founders of Saint Peter’s Church gathered was owned by a Roman Catholic Irish business person. Renting the space to Germans was an early example of positive cross-cultural and ecumenical relationships in New York City.

The first building Saint Peter’s Church owned was at Lexington Avenue and 45th Street. It was sold to New York Central Railroad in 1903 for $200,000.00. The site now houses Grand Central Terminal.

Between 1903 and the building of a neo-Gothic church at Lexington Avenue and 54th Street, Saint Peter’s Church met at Beekman Hill Church at Second Avenue and 50th Street.

In 1970, the people of Saint Peter’s Church authorized the sale of its gothic-style building, as well as its outlying property, to a condominium made up of itself and CitiBank. The condominium proceeded to buy the remainder of the city block and, by 1977, saw to the building of the entire urban center at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 54th Street.