Marble Collegiate Church

Last updated on 12 June 2017

The Marble Collegiate Church, founded in 1628, is one of the oldest continuous Protestant congregations in North America. The congregation, which is part of the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church in America, is now located at 272 Fifth Avenue at the corner of West 29th Street in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1851–54 and was designed by Samuel A. Warner in Romanesque Revival style with Gothic trim. The facade is covered in Tuckahoe marble,[2] for which the church, originally called the Fifth Avenue Church, was renamed in 1906.[3]

The building was designated a New York City landmark in 1967,[2] and in 1980 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Marble Church NYC.jpg
Marble Church NYC.jpg
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Marble Collegiate Church is located in New York City
USA New York location map.svg
Marble Collegiate Church is located in New York
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Marble Collegiate Church is located in the US


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A photochrom postcard, c. 1897–1924

The church congregation was founded in 1628 as the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church and was affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church, a Calvinist church in the Netherlands. During its first 150 years, Marble shared its ministers with the other Collegiate congregations as they developed in the city. This pooling of pastoral ministry was abandoned in 1871. The name "Collegiate" remains as part of the heritage of the four such churches in New York City today, and they participate in an administrative unit that oversees physical properties and investments held in common. The other congregations are Middle Collegiate, West End Collegiate, and Fort Washington Collegiate.

Norman Vincent Peale, the noted author of The Power of Positive Thinking, served as senior minister from 1932 to 1984. Under his ministry Marble's influence reached national levels and became known as "America's Hometown Church". On November 19, 1961, Lucille Ball married her second husband Gary Morton in the church.[4] Following Peale's fifty-two year ministry, Arthur Caliandro served 25 years as the fifth senior minister of Marble Church. In all, he served 42 years on the pastoral staff. During Caliandro's tenure, MarbleVision, the media ministry of Marble Church, was founded, its first woman minister was ordained, and the first women elders received. In addition, the church added its first new stained-glass window in almost 100 years. In 2009, Michael B. Brown, former pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, succeeded Caliandro as senior minister.

Peale was the reason why the Trump family came to attend Marble Collegiate Church; Peale also officiated the first marriage of Donald to Ivana Trump in 1977.[5] In 1993, Marble's Minister Arthur Caliandro performed Trump's marriage to Marla Maples in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel owned at the time by Trump.[6] During his 2015–16 run for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, Donald Trump claimed to attend Marble Collegiate Church. Marble stated that though he has a history with the church, Trump is not currently an active member of Marble's congregation.[7]

The church takes an 'affirm' approach to same-gender relationships and non-cisgender identities. This includes the performing of same-sex marriage ceremonies, a designated queer fellowship (GIFTS), annual participation in the NYC Pride parade and sermons and material on the church website encouraging a modern scholarly view of Scripture in opposition to the conservative Protestant belief in 'God's literal and inerrant Word' which results in heteronormative and arguably homophobic interpretations.

See also


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S. (text); Postal, Matthew A. (text) (2009), Postal, Matthew A., ed., Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.80
  3. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7., p.140
  4. ^ Frew, Tim (2001) [1996]. Lucy: A Life in Pictures (Trade paperback) (First paperback ed.). New York: Barnes & Noble Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-7607-2866-6.
  5. ^ MJ Lee: God and the Don. In:, June 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Dullea, Georgia (Dec. 21, 1993). "VOWS VOWS; It's a Wedding Blitz for Trump and Maples". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2016. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ Rebecca Shabad (August 29, 2015). "Church says Trump isn't an 'active member'". The Hill. Retrieved September 28, 2016.

External links

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