New March 2022 date set for last Amistad Chapel worship service, on Amistad Sunday

The United Church of Christ national setting is not quite ready to say farewell to Amistad Chapel.

The lighted ceiling — one of the Amistad Chapel’s architectural and symbolic features. Photos by Hans Holznagel

The chapel’s last worship service, originally slated for Dec. 4, at 2:30 ET, has now been moved to the second Sunday in March, March 13, 2022, which is traditionally Amistad Sunday.

The Rev. Traci Blackmon, associate general minister, said there are several reasons why the executive officers decided to postpone the service of farewell for the Church House, a nine-story building at 700 Prospect in Cleveland. Home to the UCC national staff for more than 30 years, the building is on the market, and the staff is downsizing to leased space nearby in early 2022.

“When this service was originally scheduled we were anticipating moving in January,” she said. “We now know we will not move until the end of the first quarter, due to COVID-related shipping and manufacturing delays. Therefore, we no longer have the time constraints on this service that were there before.

“Moving the service gives meaning to the date and perhaps offers the opportunity to combine the farewell service of Amistad with the blessing of the new space.”

700ProspectCLEAug2019
The 700 Prospect Avenue building, also called the Church House, seen in August 2019.

The UCC headquarters, lovingly referred to as “700 Prospect” brought the UCC national ministries together, to collaborate in one place in 1990, in a move from several spaces in New York and St. Louis.

More than 330 employees once worked in the revitalized building, the former Ohio Bell building, which the denomination purchased in a run down neighborhood in 1989. But over the years, as the size of the staff got smaller, so did the need for space.

The UCC put 700 Prospect up for sale earlier this fall, to move the national setting into leased space in the first quarter of 2022. All the offices will be consolidated on one floor — smaller quarters that better reflect the staff size.

The final service of celebration in the Amistad Chapel will be a tribute to the denomination’s first three decades of mission and ministry in Cleveland.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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