The Rev. Christine Lee Will Launch First of Its Kind Church Revitalization Program
in The Episcopal Diocese of New York at the 188-Year-Old Historic Landmark Church
LEE IS THE FIRST KOREAN AMERICAN WOMAN ORDAINED AS A PRIEST IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
NEW YORK -- Oct. 1, 2019—The wardens and vestry at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Chelsea have announced the Rev. Christine Lee as the church’s new, fulltime, priest-in-charge. Rev. Lee is the first female priest-in-charge and the first Asian American priest in its history. Familiarly known as St. Peter’s Chelsea, the church was founded by Clement Clarke Moore, author of A Visit from St. Nicholas, in 1881. Rev. Lee will be formally commissioned at St. Peter’s Chelsea during a service to take place in January 2020.
“I am looking forward to being a part of this new season in the life of St. Peter’s Chelsea. I have been inspired by the leadership at St. Peter’s and their desire for the church to be a sign of life and hope. There is a lot of fear and anxiety in our world today, and sadly some of that has been caused in the name of God. Our desire is for St. Peter’s to be a place where all are welcome and can encounter the love of God in these challenging times,” said Rev. Lee.
Rev. Lee will be initiating a new church revitalization program at St. Peter’s Chelsea, the first of its kind in the The Episcopal Diocese of New York. She will bring a group of new members with her to join the current congregation. Plans include a Sunday School for children, congregational development initiatives, and leadership training. Additionally, Rev. Lee will work with The Fund for the Restoration of St. Peter’s Buildings to continue buildings restoration.
“I am very excited and encouraged by St. Peter’s Chelsea in calling Christine Lee as their new priest. With additional new members blended with the existing congregation, a new vision for mission and growth will emerge under Christine’s leadership. St. Peter’s as an incubator community for development and revitalization of other communities in the Diocese is a new paradigm that has not been tried before. This is truly an exciting new project in this Diocese,” said The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan, The Episcopal Diocese of New York.
Most recently, Rev. Lee was vicar at All Angels Church. She is currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Fuller Theological Seminary with a focus on leading organizational and congregational change. In September 2012, she became the first Korean American woman ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Prior to that, she completed a year of Anglican studies at the General Theological Seminary and served on an interim basis at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. She spent time working as a community organizer for Habitat for Humanity NYC and was formerly on staff at All Angels’ Church as the Director of Spiritual Development and Outreach. Rev. Lee attended the Moody Bible Institute and received her Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, both in Chicago. She also served as a campus minister with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Chicago and Columbia University. She lives in Harlem with her husband Jimmy Lee.
About St. Peter’s Chelsea
Historic St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Chelsea, familiarly known as St. Peter's Chelsea, was founded in 1831 by Professor Clement Clarke Moore, author of A Visit from St. Nicholas, and built on his estate Chelsea in Manhattan. The church is in the Chelsea Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a 2018 New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards winner. St. Peter’s core value is to be a welcoming and inclusive community centered in Jesus Christ. The congregation reflects the diverse fabric of New York City and is made of many generations, races, gender identifications, sexual orientations, and backgrounds. St. Peter’s is known for its balance of religious services, food pantry, as a neighborhood center for ideas and programs, and living out a wider mission to the world through social action. Visit stpeterschelsea.org to learn more.
Jen Maguire, 917-596-5136, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Peter’s acceptance, Lucy G. Moses Award for excellence in historic preservation from the New York Landmarks Conservancy
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Chelsea – 346 West 20th Street, Manhattan
St. Peter’s Church opened in 1836, on land that writer Clement Clarke Moore conveyed to the vestry. Moore’s family owned much of the land that became Chelsea, and he served as a church Warden for many years. St. Peter’s was one of the earliest English-parish Country Gothic churches in the U.S., and inspired builders of many other religious properties.
By the late 20th century, the charming stone building faced major challenges: a deteriorating structure and a dwindling congregation with limited resources. A 1990s conditions survey led to restoration of the clock tower and recommended roof replacement, but the Church could not afford it. The failing roof allowed leaks to infiltrate the walls and interior for nearly 25 years.
Facing a crisis, energetic new leadership initiated a successful campaign to fund urgent rebuilding of corner piers above the roof. This work involved numbering all stones and documenting their location, before disassembly. The rebuilding installed internal stainless steel rods to tie stones together. And finally, the aged roof and drainage system were replaced. With the building envelope secured, the vestry can now take on work to restore the historic interior.
The Church of St. Peter’s, Chelsea - Reverend Stephen Harding
Old Structures Engineering PC - Marie Ennis
Plan B Engineering - John McErlean
Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration - Jack Slowik
West New York Restoration - Kevin Crawford
William Stivale, Building Conservator - William Stivale
FR. HARDING'S ACCEPTANCE:
I would like to thank the New York Landmarks Conservancy for this award and for your support of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Chelsea over so many years. It really does mean a great deal to us.
This has been a team effort, and we would not have received this award without each one of our donors, the Diocese of New York, William Stivale, our Building Conservator and Marie Ennis, our Engineer who nominated us for the award, the craftsmen and construction companies who did the work, our Vestry, our parishioners, our staff, Chelsea Community Church, and our neighbors.
This award is wonderful. But we’re not done yet. I will use this award as inspiration to keep going.
On behalf of all the people that use St. Peter’s and the Rectory, I thank each one of you for your participation and for your support of the restoration of St. Peter’s.
Thank you so much.
The Reverend Stephen Harding
Tuesday, May 8, 2018