UCC will say goodbye to Church House and Amistad Chapel — online — on Dec. 4

The last worship service ever to be held in the United Church of Christ’s Amistad Chapel will take place Saturday, Dec. 4. The entire church, and the public, are invited to join in online.

Streamed live from the unique worship space in downtown Cleveland, the service will start at 2:30 p.m. EST. People will be able to register soon at the events page at the UCC website. Because of COVID-19 precautions, only worship leaders will be present in person.

Registration for the online service will be available soon at the events page at ucc.org.

The UCC is selling the 700 Prospect Avenue building that houses its mission offices and the chapel. The offices will move to leased space nearby during the first quarter of 2022.

Church leaders plan to move some of the chapel’s furniture into a smaller worship space being designed there. They also are exploring ways to reshape pieces of the chapel’s striking architectural elements and include them in the new space.

Home for more than 30 years

The UCC bought 700 Prospect from the Ohio Bell Telephone Company in 1989 and moved the denomination’s headquarters there from New York City in 1990.

The chapel was part of an even larger expansion and remodeling project in the years that followed. Dedicated in 2000, it was imagined by architects — members of UCC churches — who were invited in the 1990s to think about sacred space in the building. The result was furniture, lighting, artwork and a floor plan rich in UCC faith, history and symbolism.

These especially convey the story of the Amistad rebellion of 1839. Captives aboard a schooner mutinied against human traffickers — and were eventually aided in their freedom fight by ancestors of today’s UCC.

Remembering ministry

The chapel’s entryway is seen through a glass door from the Church House lobby on May 16, 2019. Photo by Hans Holznagel

The service, being planned now, will be an opportunity to say goodbye not only to the chapel but to the entire building.

The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, associate general minister, is leading the planning of the service. She said it will celebrate the many meetings held and ministries planned and supported at 700 Prospect, as well as the important role the chapel has played in the church’s life.

“The service will celebrate the ministries of the national setting since the move from New York to Cleveland,” Thompson said. She said it will be, in part, “a service of leaving from 700 Prospect, which has been our home, and for the grief of change.” But the service will also lift up “the vision of the future that comes with the move to AECOM building,” she said. “The service will include both of these elements and will be a sacred time for the church as we move.”

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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