Story told by Rev’d Derek Perry
The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, situated just off Fifth and Madison Avenue in New York, was consecrated in 1861. The rather lovely story is told that in 1870 an actor’s great friend, also an actor, died. His friend went to
see the minister of the local non-conformist church in order to make arrangements for the funeral. When the minister discovered that the deceased was a member of what was then considered to be a highly disreputable profession, he refused to allow the service to take place in his church. He then said ‘Well, you could always try the little church around the corner, to which the mourning friend joyfully replied ‘thank God for the little church around the corner’ and immediately hurried off to see the Vicar. The service was arranged and from then on the church became The Little Church Around the Corner.
The Church of the Transfiguration, so close to Broadway, is now known by tradition as the actors’ church. Its beautiful stained-glass windows are dedicated to past actors.
P.G. Wodehouse, the well-known humourist, wrote the following poem in his story ‘Bring on the Girls.’
There’s a church around the corner that’s waiting for us:
It’s just above Madison Square.
I’ll borrow a dollar and buy a clean collar, And then I’ll be meeting you there.
There’ll be crowds in the pews and excitement
For I mean to be married in style,
And the girls will go dizzy and whisper ‘Who is
When I start to step up on the aisle.
Dear little, dear little Church Round the Corner,
Where so many lives have begun,
Where folks without money see nothing that’s
In living cheaper than one.
Our hearts to each other we’ve trusted: We’re busted, but what do we care?
For a moderate price
You can start dodging rice
At the Church Round the Corner, It’s just round the corner.
The corner of Madison Square.
You can read more about this Church and its ongoing ministry on its website www.littlechurch.org where their Rector writes,
‘We are an Episcopal Church and part of the larger, worldwide Anglican Communion...’
‘Our parish is also known as “The Little Church Around the Corner” ... this nickname stems from our proud heritage of inclusion and commitment to helping those in need. We host a diverse community embracing all people, across a vast spectrum of cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, sexual orientation and economic backgrounds, as full members in the body of Christ.’
The Church’s mission is to be ‘a community committed to faith in action, embracing all who seek God’s inclusive love’.