Calendar of Events

New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Second Annual Sacred Sites Open House Weekend

On Saturday May 19, 2012 three local Syracuse churches will be participating in the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s statewide Second Annual Sacred Sites Open House Weekend: Plymouth Congregational Church, the Church of the Saviour and First English Lutheran. In addition, the former St. John the Evangelist Church (RC), now the home of Brennan’s Stained Glass Studio, will be open to the public on that date. This event is an opportunity for the community at large to learn about the historic and cultural significance of these landmark buildings and experience the beauty of some of Syracuse’s hidden architectural treasures.


Plymouth Congregational Church

232 East Onondaga Street

Syracuse, NY 13202

Contact: Nancy Gwin (

(315) 474-4836

Open Saturday, May 19, 2012 from Noon – 6PM


Church of the Saviour (Anglo-Catholic)

437 James Street

Syracuse, NY 13203

Contact: The Rev. Dr. Gerard F. Beritela (

(315) 437-8750

Open: Saturday, May 19, 2012 from 10 AM to 3 PM, with Organ Demonstration at 1 PM.

           Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 10 AM – 2PM

 (Except during Solemn High Mass 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM).


First English Lutheran Church 

501 James Street

Syracuse, NY 13203

Contact: Paula Hughson (

(315) 471-1678

Open Saturday, May 19, 2012 from 11 AM to 2 PM.


Brennan’s Stained Glass Studio

(Formerly St. John the Evangelist RC Church)

215 North State Street

Syracuse, NY 13203

Contact: Scott Brennan

(315) 466-4010

Open Saturday, May 19, 2012 form 10AM – 3PM.


The New York Landmarks Conservancy

Since 1986 The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program has supported more than 675 religious institutions throughout the state, which have received over $7.3 million in matching grants. Sacred Sites is the country’s oldest and largest statewide grant program to help landmark religious properties and serves as an economic stimulus, creating jobs in communities locally where grants are received. Over the last 25 years, Sacred Sites grants have mobilized more than $530 million in restoration and repair projects statewide.

For additional information on the Sacred Sites Open House Weekend, contact Ann Friedman, Director, Sacred Sites at the New York Landmarks Conservancy at 212-995-5260.


Plymouth Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Plymouth Church was founded in 1853 by members of the abolition movement. The initial church building was built in 1858. The architect was Horatio Nelson White. This building was enlarged in 1871 and renovated in 1889. The adjacent parish house was constructed in 1930. The building is the oldest active church in downtown Syracuse.

The Church will be open on May 19th from noon until 6:00 PM in conjunction with the Downtown Living tour and the Cathedral Square Neighborhood Association event in Columbus Circle.

Plymouth is on the National Registry of Historic places and is a locally designated landmark. Since 1996, the Church has received four grants from the Sacred Sites program for a conditions survey, roof repair, and cornice, parapet, and masonry restoration. Based on the conditions survey, Plymouth has also received two grants, totally $195,358, from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund for restoration of two stained glass windows and roof replacement. These funding sources augmented funds raised by the Congregation during their 140th and 150th anniversary celebrations.


Church of the Saviour

The parish was organized in 1848, the same year as the City of Syracuse. At a time when most churches required parishioners to pay “rent” for their seats in church, it was formed as the first “freely seated and freely supported” parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York and only the second in the entire state. Since its inception it has held to many of the tenets of the Anglo-Catholic or “High Church” movement. The parish continues today as an inclusive and welcoming community, worshiping God through the beauty of music and traditional liturgy.

The current church building was designed in 1891 in the Gothic style by the Syracuse architect Asa L. Merrick. After the interior of the building was destroyed by fire in 1912 it was rebuilt under the direction of Dr. Ralph Adams Cram, who is remembered today as the foremost American authority on Gothic architecture in the twentieth century. He is best known for his redesign of the Cathedral of St. John the Devine in New York City (Cram’s contributions are of such magnitude, that he is honored on December 16th as a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church). The interior of the church includes sculptures by the distinguished Boston woodcarver Johannes Kirchmayer.  Some of Cram’s original plans will be on display as well as other historical documents.

The building will be open on Saturday May 19th from 10 AM to 3 PM, with an Organ Demonstration at 1 PM by the church organist and choirmaster, James Lawrence; and Sunday May 20, 2012 from 10 AM – 2 PM (except during Solemn High Mass 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM). An illustrated self-guided tour book will be available at the door. As we celebrate the centennial of Cram’s rebuilding of the Church of the Saviour, we invite the community at large to experience the beauty of this Sacred Space.

The Church of the Saviour received a matching grant for the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 1994 for roofing repairs.


First English Lutheran Church 

There are 10,851 congregations in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).  We're one of them. We're the only downtown Lutheran church in Syracuse, though the Syracuse Downtown Committee draws the line on the other side of Townsend Street, we think of ourselves as the downtown church. When we moved here (the corner of James and N. Townsend) in 1910, it was like moving from the city to the suburbs.  Now, we're in the city for good.

We began in 1879, meeting in homes, the old court house, and eventually in a church building we bought from another congregation on the site of today's Galleries on South Salina Street. When we dedicated this building designed by Archimedes Russell, in 1911, we were debt free.  We still are.  Our beautiful stained glass windows were designed and constructed by Haskins.

Our M.P. Moeller organ was installed in 1924 and has 28 ranks.  The new keyboard was added in 1976.  It has three manuals.  The swell division is nested above the choir loft while the great, choir and pedal divisions are high above the altar.

People of the Syracuse and wider community are invited to come into our building to enjoy our spectacular sanctuary and learn a little about the history of the church during an open house to be held Saturday, May 19th between 11:00 to 2:00.  First English is on the National Register of Historic Places and received grants from the Sacred Sites program for major building restorations in the 1990's.


Brennan’s Stained Glass Studio

(Formerly St. John the Evangelist RC Church)

St. John the Evangelist Church was built in 1853 by Irish immigrants who had worked on the Erie Canal and was the protocathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Central New York.  It features exquisite stained glass windows, some of which predate the Civil War. Over the years it served a broad range of congregants, including in recent years, newly arrived Vietnamese immigrants, continuing its’ early tradition.

In 2010 the parish was closed as part of the diocese’s consolidation plan. In 2011 the building was leased by Brennan’s Stained Glass Studio to be their new headquarters and workshop. The Brennan family will be exercising their purchase option on the building by years end. Apart from removing the pews to provide work and display space, the interior has been preserved intact, including elaborately carved main and side altars.

Brennan’s is Central New York’s oldest stained glass studio. In addition to the creation and restoration of stained glass windows for a variety of ecclesiastical, commercial and residential clients, Brennan’s offers classes and workspace for artisans ranging from the novice to the experienced. And the space is being further developed into the “Renaissance Center” which will serve as the cultural hub of downtown Syracuse for the visual and performing arts.  It represents the adaptive and creative reuse of an historic property that might otherwise have met the wrecking ball, preserving its history and beauty in a living form.

Free parking for the Sacred Sites Open House is available in lots at First English Lutheran, to the right of The Church of the Saviour, and at Brennan’s Stained Glass Studio.

The Sacred Sites Open House overlaps with the Downtown Living Tour, which is from Noon to 6 PM on Saturday May 19th.

Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center
Sat, 05/19/2012 (All day)