1931: John Haynes Holmes meets Mohandas Gandhi in London. Learn more about the relationship between these two historical figures in this documentary at the Library of Congress. The image to the left depicts Gandhi with John Haynes Holmes in New Delhi, October 12, 1947 and was taken by John Haynes Holmes’s son, Roger W. Holmes. Courtesy of the Harvard Square Library.
Late 1940s: Current building on 35th St constructed.
1948: Current church building on 35th St dedicated. Dedication of new church is attended by Jawarhal Nehru, Governor Dewey, both New York senators, a Supreme Court Jusice and Rabbi Stephen Wise, John Haynes Holmes' great friend. Reverend Donald Harrington preaches that the new building will be “a forum for the airing of great public issues in debate on Sunday evenings, a place where great music might be heard...and where every weekday night great causes of the age, like those of civil liberties, racial equality, world peace, and world government might rally the public to their banners."
1949: John Haynes Holmes succeeded by Donald Szantho Harrington as Senior Minister of Community Church of New York. The two men are pictured below, Holmes to the left and Harrington to the right.
1950: Reverend Maurice Dawkins, Minister for Education, becomes first Black member of the CCNY ministerial team.
1978: Dianne Arawaka becomes first woman member of the ministerial team.
1982: Donald Harrington stands down as Senior Minister and the congregation calls his successor, Reverend Bruce Southworth (pictured to the left).
1983: CCNY establishes its first homeless shelter in response to an appeal for help from the city as it faced a growing homelessness crisis. CCNY was one of the first city congregations to join the effort.
1984: Marjorie Bownes-Wheatley hired as first Black woman member of the ministerial team.
1985: Reverend Southworth and several CCNY members arrested at civil disobedience protests in New York outside the South African UN mission.
1988: Community Church hangs banners of the world’s major religions in the Hall of Worship.
1990: Just three months after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela makes his first visit to the United States. He speaks at Community Church (pictured to the right) to thank American anti-apartheid activists for their support. The briefing was attended by nearly 100 activists from 49 cities in 29 states. Read more here.
1994: Reverend Southworth serves as election monitor in Soweto, South Africa.
2009: CCNY joins NYC New Sanctuary Coalition, a coalition of faith-based and other organizations dedicated to supporting immigrants.
2017: Reverend Bruce Southworth retires from the position of Senior Minister, becoming Minister Emeritus.
2018: Community Church's Black Lives Matter banner is installed outside the church.
2019: Community Church calls Reverend Peggy Clarke (pictured to the right), a climate justice activist and its first woman Senior Minister.
2020: CCNY moves worship and programs online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. No staff are laid off and programs continue online throughout the week.
Explore the Community Church Oral Archives below. Recorded virtually and in-person in September-October 2021, the Community Church Oral Archives reflect the history of our church in our words. Members were asked about their history with Community Church, favorite memories and moments, and hopes for the future.
The Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist