The Church of the Resurrection is the oldest church in Richmond Hill. Sometime in 1866 or 1867, the Reverend George Cook, assistant minister at Grace Church, began to hold services in the old Long Island Railroad station between Hillside Avenue and Jamaica Avenue. The Richmond Hill mission, as it came to be known, took root and a chapel was built over a carpenter’s shop in the business block. The Richmond Hill chapel remained a mission until 1874 when the Reverend Joshua Kimber moved to Richmond Hill and took charge. On April 27, 1874, a meeting was held in the Public Hall and it was decided to incorporate as the Church of the Resurrection, at Richmond Hill. The new church was dedicated in November 1874.
In the north aisle is the Good Shepherd stained glass window, which is the Riis family memorial. Jacob Riis, the famous reporter and urban reformer, and his family were members of this parish. A plaque commemorates the visit of Governor (later to become President) Theodore Roosevelt who attended the wedding of Jacob Riis’ daughter, Clara, on June 1, 1900.
The theme of the design of the chancel is the Resurrection, and reflects the quality of work throughout the structure. The central window portrays the Risen Christ in priestly robes, with the chalice and host of the Eucharist where Christ’s risen life is celebrated by the community. This important window was given as a memorial to Oliver Fowler, and his wife Jane. Oliver Fowler was a chief agent in the design of Richmond Hill on behalf of Albon Man. Fowler served on Resurrection’s vestry. The beautifully carved oak reredos was given by the Man family, in memory of Albon Platt Man, the “founder” of Richmond Hill, and his wife Mary. It was Albon P. Man who gave Resurrection the land for its church and rectory. His sons, who remained active in Resurrection’s life, one serving on its vestry, gave the High Altar and reredos as a family memorial. The reredos or structure behind and above the Altar, meant to dignify and ornament the Altar, is constructed in quarter-sawn white oak, popular in the Arts and Crafts movement of the period. Angels of the Resurrection atop the reredos hold slim trumpets to announce the triumphant entry of Christ into heaven. Angels also flank the chancel steps which lead to the finely carved choir. All this statuary and relief carving was done by Alois Lang, famous Austrian woodcarver, and an Episcopalian. Lang is also responsible for much of the fine carving in many prominent Episcopal churches, including St. John’s and St. Joseph’s in Detroit; Grosse Point Memorial Church; Christ Church, Cranbrook, Michigan and the Cathedral in Springfield Illinois. The Lady Chapel also follows the Resurrection theme. It is actually a chapel of the Myrrh-Bearing women as they are called.
On November 2, 1996, the Church of the Resurrection was presented with a bronze plaque by the Queens Historical Society in recognition of the church’s historical and architectural merits. In 2003 the Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Church’s rectory, a seven bedroom Queen Anne Victorian, built in 1888, was also placed on the National Register. To read more about the history of the Church of the Resurrection in Richmond Hill, please visit the Richmond Hill Historical Society.
The Friends of the Resurrection exist to help further the restoration and continued use of this historic ensemble of buildings in Richmond Hill. Help us keep this wonderful resource a vibrant and active part of the community. Donations to this fund may be sent to The Friends of the Resurrection, 85-09 118th Street, Kew Gardens NY 11415. Checks can be made payable to the Friends of Resurrection.