After the congregation of Sunnyside’s All Saints’ Church dwindled to about 20 members, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island announced that it will close the church as a parish congregation on Feb. 23.
The ministries in Sunnyside and Long Island City have been running since 1928. The diocese said that it would examine how to continue to serving western Queens, but given the size of All Saints’ current congregation, which shrunk from 100 members in 1998, it can no longer afford to maintain the property or support staff salaries.
The diocese has no plans to sell the property, located at 43-12 46th St., and it will continue to use the church building for at least a year.
“Our diocesan director of real estate, Haiko Cornelissen, will be handling rental and lease arrangements. The head of our Congregational Support Office, Canon Claire Woodley, will continue to provide consultation as she has regarding All Saints’ during the last 18 months. The priest-in-charge, the Rev. Gabe Lamazares, will be moving to North Carolina,” said Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.
One of the church’s tenants is the Amazing Magic Beans, a pre-school, which will remain open until the end of summer, at least. It also functions as a space for music lessons, an annual strawberry festival and meetings for community groups.
Architecturally the church’s brick facade and A-frame pops out among the surrounding tenement buildings. Inside wooden rafter crisscross along sanctuary lined with stained glass.
“It’s a beautiful structure. It’s a beautiful place to attend service and they’ve done a lot for the community,” said Rob MacKay, director of tourism at the Queens EDC. “I’ve been through church closings in Queens neighborhood before, and it’s kind of like a death in the family. But it’s also like what does it say about a community that a church is going away?”