There was never any doubt that Trinity Church was quite well-to-do. In fact, the church’s total assets are currently estimated to be around $2 billion in well-to-do-ness. While this divine nest egg seems rather paltry when compared to the Vatican‘s inestimable store of heavenly manna, it still runs contrary to the essence of a Protestant Episcopalianism; the presumed values that, beyond King Henry VIII’s personal idiosyncrasies, led to its establishment.
When the church was founded in 1705, Queen Anne of bestowed 215 acres of Manhattan farmland to the church. Trinity Church obviously took that profitable ball and ran with it for over three centuries. The New York Times explains that the 215 acres has since been parlayed into 5.5 million square feet of commercial real estate with an estimated value of more than $2 billion. This brought in $158 million in revenue in 2011, with philanthropic causes receiving only $3 million compared to$2.5 million going to its music program.
This is what compelled a former parishioner to bring a lawsuit against the church that caused quite a stir amongst the congregation.
“I felt that the church was being too corporate and wasn’t acting on its values,” he says. The church’s rector, James Cooper, says Trinity Church is striking the right balance. But Cooper—who makes roughly $1.3 million a year in total compensation—is a controversial figure; last year a resigning vestry member said he had “created a glaring atmosphere of deceit.”
Personally, I know that Trinity Church’s famed Christmas presentation of Handel’s Messiah will sound forever off-key to this blogger from now on. Indeed, after all is said and done, it appears cozily appropriate that the church is situated right at the end of Wall Street.
- NYC Church Squabbles Over Ungodly Amounts of Cash (newser.com)
- NYC Church Squabbles Over Ungodly Amounts of Cash (praisecharlotte.com)
- Massive NYC church scam discovered: Trinity Church is not what you think it is (bazaardaily.com)