The Church of the Living Hope
"Living the hope" on the streets of East Harlem.
The Church of the Living Hope (CLH) was founded in 1961 by parishioners of the historic East Harlem Protestant Parish who chose to form a new church. This congregation soon outgrew the apartments in the housing Project where most of its members lived, and crossed Third Avenue to rent a storefront, and then purchase and renovate a building, literally the worst building on the block. CLH has been a community-focused, diverse and prophetic congregation, fiercely loyal to its neighborhood. As the congregation ended the 1990’s, its focus switched to specialist outreach to ex-offenders. During the same decade, Mexican immigrants arrived in significant numbers in the neighborhood, while most congregants moved out of Manhattan as a result of their improved employment and prospects. The church then entered a period of decline. Today CLH has 21 members and another 10 adherents. We are active and committed members of the United Church of Christ (UCC). We are now in a process of re-engaging with our neighbors on the twenty blocks between East 96 and East 106 and between Lexington and Second Avenues, including the George Washington NYCHA Projects. Our neighborhood has a population of at least 10,000, all within a five-minute walking radius. This is densely populated East Harlem. We are working at grassroots level to replant the congregation on multiple sites in this neighborhood.