It’s Bach to Brooklyn!

August 30, 2012 American Guild of Organists, Brooklyn Chapter
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Five churches in Bedford-Stuyvesant will be featured in this year’s Bach to Brooklyn Organ Tour, on Saturday, Sept. 8.

A progressive tour that highlights the churches and synagogues in one of the borough’s diverse neighborhoods, the annual event is organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of the American Guild of Organists, Brooklyn Chapter.

Noted tour guide Andrew Dolkart, author of Landmarks of New York City, will return by popular demand to present a talk on architectural and historic points of interest for each church and the surrounding neighborhood. The tour includes a demonstration of the pipe organ at each of the featured churches.

The 2012 Bach to Brooklyn will include visits to Brown Memorial Baptist Church (which straddles neighboring Clinton Hill); St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church, and the Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on MacDonough St. was founded in 1899, and the new congregation achieved parish status in 1926. The parish serves a large Southern and Caribbean community.

Brown Memorial Baptist Church marked its 90th birthday during 2012. Ground had been broken on May 14, 1921, and on March 22, 1922, the cornerstone was laid. The new Brown Memorial Baptist Church was dedicated on March 25 and the first service was held on Sunday, April 4 of that year.

In 1944, the congregation of St. Philip’s moved to its present building at 334 MacDonough St. This neo-Gothic edifice, which accommodates 900 people, was designed by Arni Delhi in 1899 — the year St. Philip’s was founded—for Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. The church is within the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, which was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1971.

Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church

Neighbor to St. Philip’s Church, at 583 Throop Avenue near MacDonough St., is Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church. This parish was established in 1868; and the current Our Lady of Victory Church building was dedicated on October 20, 1895, with Bishop Charles E. McDonnell presiding. Thomas Houghton was the architect.

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, now at 1227 Pacific Street at Bedford Avenue, had its origins in the late 19th century as a mission chapel called St. Luke’s. They built a chapel, which was destroyed in a February 1886 fire. A newer chapel was built over the site and opened on Christmas Day of that year. In May 1887, the congregation was incorporated as St. Bartholomew’s Protestant Episcopal Church.

Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church

The Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church, 277 Stuyvesant Avenue, was founded in 1818 as an intentionally-multiracial congregation of former slaves and free men. The current real estate was purchased in 1938.

The oldest portion of the building, a simple gable-roofed chapel seating 600, dates from 1890. The congregation outgrew that building. Brooklyn architects Woodruff Leeming and Chester Hughes Kirk, designed the new church to incorporate the earlier chapel in the new, larger building, The Bridge Street African WME Church received a Landmarks Conservancy Grant in August, 2012 to help underwrite the roof replacement over the sanctuary.

The tour runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 8, with a starting point of Brown Memorial Church at 484 Washington Ave., between Fulton St. and Gates Ave. Transportation will be provided between the churches. For admission prices and to register, visit the Brooklyn Chapter’s website.

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