Monday, October 17, 2011

St. Paul's Chapel, New York

St. Paul's Chapel is part of the Trinity Church Parish, situated downtown New York, near Wall Street. Built in 1766, this Georgian-style landmark is the only church left from the Colonial era, when luminaries like Prince William, later King William IV, and Lord Cornwall's worshipped here. George Washington's personal church pew is also preserved within the St. Paul's.

Although it is located just one block east of the World Trade Centre, remarkably, the building was not damaged during the terrorist attacks of 9/11, being used as a shelter for many of the volunteers and workers who helped in the aftermath. 

The chapel is now the site of a permanent 9/11 exhibit: Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero, honouring the 8 month long volunteer effort of its parishioners during and after the tragic events. 

Part of the Episcopal Parish of Trinity Church, St. Paul's is a centre for worship and the arts, a community of reconciliation, and a place of pilgrimage for all people. 

The exhibit has many objects taken from the ruins and the people from Ground Zero. The one that strikes the visitor is, by far, the Cross forged from Destruction. Blacksmiths David Munn and Fred Christ forged this Iron Memorial Cross from steel and other remnants salvaged from the collapse of the World Trade Centre. Munn's friend, a tugboat captain named Scott Murray, inspired them to create the cross. 

Murray had helped haul rubble from the collapsed towers. the blacksmiths first made a cross for Murray in an effort to bring him hope healing. The idea to make a cross for the Chapel came after Murray expressed how important St. Paul's Chapel was to him and many others who confronted the destruction at Ground Zero on a daily basis. 

The memorial altar (below) is placed within the Chapel, created with missing posters and prayer cards that were left during the weeks and months following 9/11. 

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