Holy war! Green Church won’t let us see contents of the 1900-era time capsule

Holy war! Green Church won’t let us see contents of the 1900-era time capsule
The Brooklyn Paper / Joe Marino

A Bay Ridge congregation that enraged neighborhood preservationists when it tore down the historic Green Church took the bizarre step of hiding the contents of the turn-of-the-last-century time capsule recovered from the demolished building.

Members of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church — whose landmark-worthy church was torn down in 2008 to make room for a smaller building at the corner of Fourth and Ovington avenues — refused to share the contents of the time capsule at their 180-year anniversary celebration on Sunday, despite a public invitation to join the festivities.

Reporters and photographers showed up to document the contents of the time capsule at the Greenhouse Café on Third Avenue, but Pastor Robert Emerick turned them away.

“This is a private event — we don’t want pictures,” Emerick said — ignoring the invitation in his own press release, “Visitors and guests are welcome.”

The secrecy comes after years of controversy over the former church, a green-toned, 109-year-old building that became the center of a neighborhood maelstrom when preservationists battled the congregation itself in an effort to save the soaring Gothic edifice. But the congregation sold part of the property and now shares facilities with the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at Bay Ridge Parkway and Fourth Avenue.

Emerick said that workers would complete a “new modern church” on a portion of its former site — which will also host a public elementary school — in April, 2012.

“We look forward to the next 180 years of service to the community and the world,” Emerick said in his press release.

That could be, but for now, it remains unclear what happened over the past 180 years of service.

This cornerstone held the time capsule, whose contents are being kept from us.
The Brooklyn Paper / Ben Muessig