St. John's Church in Jersey City was built in 1870. Once known as the “Millionaires’ Church,” it was one of several Jersey City churches that closed in the 1980s and 90s due to a shrinking congregation facing growing expenses. It has not housed a congregation since 1994.
In March 2013 the City of Jersey City served the Diocese of Newark with a Notice of Unsafe Structure for St. John's, requiring the diocese to either demolish or repair the building, or face weekly fines. The diocesan Trustees concur with the assessment that the building is unsafe.
Why doesn’t the diocese repair St. John’s?
The cost of repair – estimated to be in the millions of dollars – is far beyond the diocese's means.
Why doesn’t the diocese sell St. John’s?
While various groups have approached the diocesan Trustees to discuss acquiring the property, none have ever made an actual proposal to purchase it.
What is the status of designating St. John’s a landmark?
An ordinance to designate St. John’s a landmark was introduced to the City Council of Jersey City, which voted to table it in 2008. Questions regarding the City Council’s actions should be directed to them.
What is currently happening to St. John’s building?
The diocesan Trustees are complying with the Notice of Unsafe Structure by contracting with LVI Services to demolish the building.
In order to make the structure safe to demolish, asbestos abatement was first required on the upper level, around the windows and ceiling (asbestos abatement of the lower level was done a few years ago). LVI completed this work on Friday, May 17, 2013.
On May 21, 2013 LVI submitted the required application to the City of Jersey City for a demolition permit.
What is the future of Episcopal ministry in Jersey City?
The Diocese of Newark is committed to ministry in the Jersey City community through the three remaining Jersey City Episcopal churches, Grace Church Van Vorst, Church of the Incarnation and St. Paul's Church in Bergen. All sales proceeds from previously closed Jersey City churches were used to create the Jersey City Area Ministry (JCAM) Fund, which since 1997 has supported meal programs for the homeless or those living in poverty; enrichment programs for children whose parents otherwise couldn’t afford them; and other ministries benefiting the residents of Jersey City. Any net sale proceeds from St. John’s would likewise go to the JCAM Fund to support existing and future ministry in Jersey City.
All media inquiries about St. John’s Church in Jersey City should be directed to Nina Nicholson, Director of Communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, at firstname.lastname@example.org.