Of the many churches in Manhattan, and of the many on or near Fifth Avenue, perhaps two stand out as the most celebrated and beautiful— St. Patrick’s Cathedral, recently sandblasted and refurbished just in time for the Pope’s visit Sept. 25th, and Marble Collegiate Church, made famous by Norman Vincent Peale who spent an amazing 50+ as the pastor of that church. It is not pastored by a good friend of mine, Michael Brown. We were ordained together in the Western N.C. Conference of the UMC, and last year, he and his wife and various of his parishoners went with me to Israel and Turkey, and had a blast. Here are some pictures I took of these two remarkable churches on Fifth Avenue last month.
stands a less imposing edifice that St. Pats, but nonetheless beautiful in its own way. Norman Vincent Peale of course was famous for his book The Power of Positive Thinking. Marble Collegiate Church was in the Dutch Reformed tradition, but Peale wanted to emphasize a more positive message than one sometimes heard from preachers in that tradition. He was Rev. Robert Schuller long before there was a Rev. Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral beginning in 1980. Here is the exterior of Marble Collegiate Church itself, complete with statue of Peale.
The inside of the church is quite beautiful with its incredible stained glass windows and its imposing pipe organ.
This church is actually one of the oldest continually operating congregations in the nation, having been founded in 1626. It’s windows are much like the famous Tiffany glass windows in many large older cathedrals in the major cities of America. It is well worth a visit, and I can tell you right now…. Michael can preach the Good News in ways that remind us that it is meant to be Good News.