The history of Church of Sweden in New York
"The church abroad wants to be where Swedes live and work" - it says in a verdict, adopted by the Council of the Church of Sweden Abroad in 2015. It has always been the mission of the emissary priests and other co-workers who followed their compatriots by land and sea.
The reasons we traveled from Sweden have varied. Today, many people live permanently or part of the year abroad. A lot of people study for some time, others are here for work. We have become a travelling people and the distances on the ground have decreased as time goes by.
The whole thing was speedy in 1851. Then it was decided that Sweden's inhabitants had the right to move from the realm without the Kings permission.
This is my church but it also a church for everyone. Not just for Swedes.
Immigration to America was great. Many would seek happiness in the west. Between 1820 and 1900, almost 19 million immigrants from Europe came to America, about 1,4 million were Swedes. 1882 was a record year of 64,607 Swedes, and between 1893 and 1900 they continued to come: 133,053 Swedes came to New York, which was the first stop before it was allowed to stay or to be sent to the country.
Already in 1844 there was the Bethel Ship, a methodical mission boat, in New York Harbor. Captain Hedström took good care of Swedish sailors. A Lutheran mission by the priest Agrelius had made his attempts at Carlisle Street and in Bowery in the late 1840s without visible success. At that time there was a clear need for a Swedish immigrant and seamen's home.
At the beginning of the 1850s, Pastor Pehrsson founded Swedish Lutheran St. Petri Church among the 3,000 that existed in the Swedish colony, most of the maritime and craft workers.
And the congregation has had different constellations during all these years. One thing is sure, the church has always been important.
The story about the house on 48th street
Mrs Henrietta E. Francis Talcott was a wealthy and influential woman in New York in the early 20th century. The father was pastor in the Presbyterian Church, she was a mother of four children and lived on the 54th street. She married Marion James Talcott and became widow in 1916. In 1920, she donated $ 250,000 to the New York Bible Society to build a house in memory of him.
The house was designed by architect Wilfred E. Anthony (1878-1948). The building, which was completed in 1921, was awarded a silver medal by the Fifth Avenue Association in the category of best building in the area around Fifth avenue. This is in great competition when the construction team in Manhattan took off after the 1st World War.