And the One seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new!" - Revelation 21:5
St. Peter's Chelsea is part of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, the ongoing community of people who center their lives on Jesus and follow him into loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God, others, and our world.
Together, we follow Jesus as we love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and body, love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40), and restore each other and all of creation to unity with God in Christ (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).
Today, we participate in his movement with our whole lives and in all things, we seek to be loving, liberating and life-giving—just like the God who formed all things in love; liberates us all from prisons of mind, body and spirit; and gives life so we can participate in the resurrection and healing of God’s world.
Listen to our Presiding Bishop, the Right Rev. Michael Curry, talk about the Jesus Movement:
St. Peter’s Chelsea is a historic congregation that was planted by the neighborhood residents, faculty and students who gathered at the General Theological Seminary for Sunday worship in the early 1800s. The land on which St. Peter’s stands was given by Clement Clarke Moore from his family estate. Moore is best remembered for creating the classic Christmas poem known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
During the first half of the 19th century, St. Peter’s clergy was busy attending to the needs of those affected by the cholera and yellow fever outbreaks, as well as the arrival of thousands of immigrants fleeing unfavorable conditions in Europe. In the late 19th century, St. Peter’s organizations, run mostly by women, provided employment to needy women, ran an industrial school for boys, and provided many other programs and services vital to the community.
Throughout the 1960s, St. Peter's housed many of the city’s most active peace, arts, civil rights and unionizing organizations, including the national offices of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Black Women’s Liberation. Our outreach in the late 20th century focused on pastoral care to a growing number of New Yorkers with AIDS and their families.
In recent decades, St. Peter's members and finances dwindled significantly. In October 2019, the Diocese of New York embarked on a new missional initiative at St. Peter's, sending the Rev. Christine Lee and the Rev. Lisha Epperson with 20 new members from All Angels' Church and Church of the Heavenly Rest to join the existing congregation. In February 2020, the pandemic hit. While it was a challenging season, those early months brought out the best in St. Peter's - prayerfulness, emotional honesty, care, connectedness, creativity, scrappiness, a capacity to hold sorrow and joy together, qualities that still hold true today.
Like our patron saint, the apostle Peter, we love a good adventure with Jesus, stepping out of the boat onto the water to be with him wherever he leads. In this season of revitalization, we are listening for how Jesus is calling us to follow him in making all things new and invite you to join us!