Tales from the crypts at Green Church

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Workers exhumed 211 bodies from the crypt of Bay Ridge’s “Green Church,” moving the 108-year-old house of worship closer to its long-slated, but much-protested demolition.

Citing the costs of ongoing renovation work, Pastor Robert Emerick last year signed off on a plan to tear down the verdant Bay Ridge United Methodist Church to make room for a smaller church and condos on the corner of Fourth and Ovington avenues.

Before demolition can begin, the church needed to relocate the remains of its 19th-century parishioners, which had rested untouched in a crypt since 1901.

Workers donned gloves, carefully placing the remains in steal vaults before moving them to Cypress Hills Cemetery, where “they’ll be buried alongside other Methodists,” Emerick said.

For neighbors fighting to preserve the church, the disinterment is a bad omen.

“Once you’ve moved the bodies, the next step is bringing the church down,” said Victoria Hofmo of the Committee to Save the Bay Ridge Methodist Church, which has been having bi-weekly rallies to build community support against tearing down the historic green stone building. Hofmo’s group wants the landmark-worthy church turned into a community center.

City Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) — whose calls to preserve the “Green Church” drew harsh words from Emerick — called the exhumation egregious.

"It's a sad day for all those ancestors of the church, whose bodies were at rest, to now have to be uprooted, disturbing their eternal peace in the name of residential development,” he said.

But according to Emerick, the opposition isn’t thinking about what’s best for the church.

“They don’t actually care about the remains,” said Emerick. “They’re opposed to anything that this congregation does with its property.”

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Sara from Bay Ridge says:
Do we know if the inspectors who said the church should be demolished are related to the developer who wants to build condominiums?
April 25, 2008, 12:10 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I can't believe that a beautiful and unique building like this church can be demolished. It is one of the most lovely and special buildings in bay ridge and the landmarks commission really ought to step in and provide for the upkeep and rennovation of one of the cities great buildings.
Furthermore the spread of ugly, poorly built condos all over bay ridge is really a sad development, and just makes the neighborhood uglier and less livable.
April 28, 2008, 10:50 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: