Times Square Church
|Times Square Church|
Front entrance of Times Square Church
|Location||237 West 51st Street
New York City, New York 10019
|Senior pastor(s)||David Wilkerson
Times Square Church is an inter-denominational church located at 237 West 51st Street in the Theater District of Manhattan, New York City. A large number of people representing many nationalities gather to worship together every week. Volunteers from the congregation participate in over forty ministries, ranging from feeding the homeless in New York City to staffing an orphanage in South Africa. A major emphasis at Times Square Church is giving aid to the disadvantaged.
The Times Square Church was founded by Pastor David Wilkerson in 1987. At the time, the area was known as a center of X-rated films, strip clubs, prostitution, and drug addiction. Pastor Wilkerson opened the church in response to what he described as "the physically destitute and spiritually dead people" he saw among the pimps, runaways and crack dealers who populated the area. The Times Square Church briefly held its services in The Town Hall on 43rd Street in Manhattan and then in the Nederlander Theatre on 41st Street. In 1989 the church moved to the former Mark Hellinger Theatre, its current location on 51st Street.
There are three services on Sunday at 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. In 2002, founding pastor David Wilkerson entrusted the senior pastorate to Carter Conlon, formerly an evangelical pastor from eastern Canada and associate pastor at Times Square Church from 1994-2002. There are also visiting ministers and missionaries who come to preach from all over the world. The church places an emphasis on prayer and even has a "prayer during preaching ministry". On Thursday evenings, prayer meetings are held in the church's annex on 1657 Broadway. There are also high school and young adults programs.
The church is headquartered in a theater building originally built by Warner Bros. in 1930 as a movie palace, the Warner Hollywood Theatre, which was later converted to a Broadway venue as the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Notable Broadway musicals that have played at the theater include My Fair Lady, Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Katharine Hepburn musical Coco. Times Square Church purchased the building from the Nederlander Organization for an undisclosed amount in 1991. At the time, the value of the building was estimated to be between $15 million–$18 million. Upon its purchase, Pastor Donald W. Wilkerson, brother of David Wilkerson and one of the church leaders, declared that the theater would not be altered, saying "The theater is landmarked and it will remain the same."
- "The People: Over 100 nationalities". tsnyc.org. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
- "The History of Times Square Church: A testimony of obedience". tsnyc.org. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
- Morrison, William (1999). Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture (trade paperback). Dover Books on Architecture. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. pp. 162–163. ISBN 0-486-40244-4.
- "Times Square Church" at Internet Broadway Database
- Collins, Glenn (Dec 7, 1991). "Hellinger Theater Sold To Church". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2009.