New York Landmarks Conservancy
Virtual Statewide Tour of Churches
Thursday, August 19. 2021, 6 – 7 PM
You may have visited Blessed Trinity during one of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Open House Weekends – an annual event held each May from 2010-19. After a pandemic cancellation in 2020, the Conservancy chose to restart with a virtual tour of 11 houses of worship in 6 different New York counties. Blessed Trinity and University Presbyterian Church, both located in Buffalo, were the only featured congregations from outside the Albany-NYC area.
Titled “Faith in the Empire State: Houses of Worship Across New York,” the hour-long ZOOM presentation visited sacred sites “funded and designed by residents of towns and cities from Long Island to the Great Lakes,” exploring contemporary uses as well as historical significance.
Today Blessed Trinity is home to a small, ethnically and racially diverse congregation. Founded in 1906, the parish originally served a rapidly growing community of mainly German and Irish immigrants. Under construction from 1923-28, the present Landmark church is adjacent to the original combination church and school built in 1907. Many local laborers and artisans were employed in its construction, using only materials manufactured or quarried in the United States. It is recognized as the purest replication of Twelfth Century Lombard-Romanesque architecture in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure’s unique features include unmolded handmade bricks set in a variety of patterns, extensive use of terra cotta, and an elaborate display of medieval iconography.
Founded in 1921 as a mission church to the University of Buffalo and the developing neighborhood around it, University Presbyterian Church continues its ministry with students, including an intentional Christian living program in the former manse. The church’s food pantry serves the needs of both students and others in the surrounding community. Before construction was even completed the original wood frame church was too small. To meet the needs of ministry and outreach programs, the new sanctuary wing, with classroom and assembly spaces in the basement, was completed in 1928.The education wing was added in 1956.The architecture is recognized as a distinctive local example of a Georgian Colonial Revival style church, with a Wren-Gibbs inspired portico, tower, and steeple. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy will present a virtual tour again in July 2022, with plans for resuming in-person visits to sacred sites across the state in 2023. Learn more about their Sacred Sites Open Houses by visiting https://nylandmarks.org/sacred-sites-open-house/