Grace Baptist Church of Christ

233 New Jersey Avenue
Architect unknown

This stately Gothic Revival style church was originally built for the German congregation of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, which referred to itself as St. Johannes Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche – a name memorialized in stone at the base of the church’s tower. From its formation in 1847, this German immigrant congregation worshipped in a wooden church building at the corner of New Jersey and Liberty Avenues, making it one of East New York’s earliest institutions. The new church, constructed just south of the original building, was dedicated in 1898. Committed to staying connected to their heritage, the members of the church spoke German and for many years refused to conduct services in English. This was largely in response to the early 20th century trend of German congregations switching to English-speaking services. This eventually led to a schism in the congregation, wherein a group broke off to form the English-speaking Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Barbey Street. By the mid-20th century, most of the German population had moved out of East New York, so in 1972, the parish voted to disband and sold the building to the congregation of Grace Baptist Church of Christ, which continues to worship here. The structure is adjoined by a charming rectory building, faced in the same rough-hewn brick as the church.