PARK SLOPE -- The historic Old First Reformed Church of Brooklyn, still working to repair extensive ceiling damage in its sanctuary, will hold Easter services at Congregation Beth Elohim, continuing an unusually close relationship between the Dutch Reformed church and the neighboring synagogue two blocks away.
Old First, a landmark building with a congregation dating back to 1654, had to close its sanctuary last fall because of falling plaster, and its main space is still closed while work gets underway. Services have since been hold in a lower hall.
To accommodate the demand for extra space at Easter, Beth Elohim offered its main worship space for Easter Sunday, April 8, which happens to fall one day after the first day of Passover. At the Easter service, Cantor Josh Breitzer will sing a solo, and Associate Rabbi Carole Gould will chant the Isaiah lesson in Hebrew.
Dr. Daniel Meeter, pastor of Old First, said the church and the synagogue have a close relationship. “They’ve been there for us and we’ve been there for them. Our congregation deeply appreciates the fact that we will have adequate space for Easter worship. God always provides.”
Pieces of the church’s elaborate 60-foot ceiling began to fall in September, when Beth Elohim was holding its Rosh Hashanah services as a guest of Old First Reformed Church. Beth Elohim was using the Old First space because its own ceiling had collapsed.
Old First’s sanctuary is known for its stained glass, acoustics, and its majestic Roosevelt pipe organ. The congregation was established 357 years ago, and its steeple is the second tallest in the borough.