JAN HUS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH & NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE
Jan Hus Church began as a ministry to the immigrants who began arriving in New York in the19th century. The congregation met in a variety of churches on the East Side until the small congregation raised the funds necessary to build their own church on 74th Street (where most of the Czech community then lived). On Sunday, May 6, 1888 the first Bohemian Brethren Presbyterian Church in the United States was opened and dedicated to the Czech martyr, Jan Hus.
Going into the 21st century the church became more and more central to community life. To accommodate this ministry, the Jan Hus Neighborhood House was built in 1915 with donations and money raised by the congregation. The church was a center for art, education, music, history, literature and cultural activities not only for church members but the city itself. Among its many accomplishments in those first sixty years were a shelter and literacy program for immigrants, hiring social workers to help the immigrants adjust to American society, and the ordination of the Presbyterian church’s first female Elder (Anna Mattock in 1931),
By the 1950s, Jan Hus Church was no longer predominantly Czech, but even today we honor the church’s Czech heritage by singing the Closing Hymn of our Worship Service in Czech. Church milestones in the latter part of the 20th century include helping establish the International Playgroup (now the International Preschool) and hosting the Yorkville Luncheon Club (now the Carter Burden Center) in the Sanctuary, an innovation in using a Church Sanctuary as a multi-purpose space. The leadership of then Senior Pastor Jan Orr-Harter brought Jan Hus Church to the forefront of the Sanctuary Movement, voiced opposition to the nuclear arms build-up, and called for peaceful discourse. Jan Hus was among the first churches to become an Open and Affirming congregation for the full inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people in church life and then Associate Pastor Cliff Frasier became Director of Presbyterian Welcome, which Jan Hus hosted originally.
Today, Jan Hus supports a school in Haiti, has formed a coalition with Haitian groups in New York, and continues to support a thriving ministry to New York City’s poor and homeless. The Carter Burden Center and International Pre-School are still with us and many 12-step groups meet in the Community Center. Regular Worship Services take place at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday and we hold special services, bible studies, retreats, educational forums, and other special events throughout the year.
We invite you to be a part of this exciting ministry in any way you are able.