The church survived the Civil War, flourished in Gilded Age Manhattan, and endured the upheaval of the First World War, while continuing to serve its members and the larger community. In 1929, however, the Trustees made a bold decision to tear the original church structure to the ground and rebuild a commercial hotel on the site – the Roger Williams Hotel – with a new sanctuary, including the historic Zettler stained glass windows, reconstructed inside the hotel.
Maintaining our tradition of ministering to the community, we began a Sunday Afternoon Meal for Seniors and a Shelter for the Homeless in the 1980s, and in 1992 we began ministries to people with AIDS at Bellevue Hospital, sponsored by the Bellevue Chaplains’ Office. In 1993, Madison Avenue Baptist Church became a Charter member of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists made up of American Baptist Churches and organizations committed to being inclusive of all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. We now partner with various organizations and programs within New York City and abroad, including New York Cares, St. Peter’s Church, Hope Lodge, and the Bowery Mission.
Today, we continue our mission as a place of worship that honors inclusion and welcomes everyone. Our senior pastor, Rev. Susan Sparks, a trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, drives a community of faith that follows a gospel of joy and laughter, not judgment and fear. Along with our Sunday Worship, Bible Study, lively music program, and active community service, we strive to be the Baptist Church that redefines what people believe Baptist to be.
Visit our Historical Photos page for more images.