One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. — Psalm 145:4
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church formally christened its Church House this morning in honor of two faith members of the congregation, Ravenel B. Curry III and the late Elizabeth Curry.
Eleven members of the Curry family were on hand as Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston and Ravenel Curry unveiled the bronze plaque at the entrance that now reads "The Elizabeth and Ravenel B. Curry III Church House."
The dedication ceremony was the opening event of Celebration Sunday at the church, marking the successful completion of an 18-month, $8 million exterior restoration of the Sanctuary and Church House. The Currys were among the major contributors to the capital campaign, Generation to Generation, that financed the restoration and a number of other improvement projects that will soon get underway.
"Ravenel and Beth’s gift became the cornerstone around which this campaign was built," Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston said. "When I learned of their gift, I wept, because I knew this work was going to be possible, and because I was a witness to such graciousness."
About the Curry Church House
Ravenel and Elizabeth Curry became members of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 2008 after moving to New York City from Summit, New Jersey. Beth served on the FAPC Board of Trustees and as co-chair of the annual Pledge Campaign in 2013.
"Ravenel and I have almost always been members of small congregations," she said at the time. "We like the intimacy and sense of community a small church provides. But guess what? We discovered in our mid-60s that a large congregation does not mean those things are absent."
The Currys co-founded Eagle Capital Management, a $25 billion investment firm, and were business partners for 27 years. The couple married in 1963 and had three children, Ravenel IV, Caroline and Marshall. At the time of Beth's death in 2015, the Currys had seven grandchildren.
Built in 1925, the Curry Church House is adjacent to the historic Sanctuary of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, which has stood at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street since 1875. The Church House is home to Kirkland Chapel (named for a former senior pastor, the late Dr. Bryant M. Kirkland), the FAPC Columbarium and the LaDane Williamson Christian Education Center, as well as administrative offices, meeting rooms and exhibit spaces.
The Chapel and Church House were designed by the New York architect James Gamble Rogers (1867-1947), who also designed the famous Harkness Tower and Memorial Quadrangle at Yale University.
Eight Important Gifts
In addition to the Currys, eight other major contributors were recognized on Celebration Sunday with prominent programs, funds and architectural treasures named in their honor. In recognition of their generous gifts to the Generation to Generation campaign, FAPC announced the naming or endowment of:
- The Leslie and Marguerite Chesnut Gallery, named for the parents of Diane Chesnut
- The Gotto Lectureship at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, named for Tony and Anita Gotto
- The Kathy and Kenneth Henderson Rose Window (in the balcony of the Sanctuary)
- The Glenn and Constance Hubbard Property Fund
- The Dr. and Mrs. Reid Pitts, Jr. Sanctuary Organ Console
- The Alex and Polly Ryerson Window (in the balcony of Kirkland Chapel)
- The Reverend Randolph and Cynthia Weber Terrace, named in honor of our departing associate pastor and his wife, by campaign donors Sean and Anne Coffey
- The JoAnn C. and John T. Weisel Window (above the chancel in Kirkland Chapel)
"The Trustees of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church have approved these designations in celebration of the lead donors to this campaign," Scott said. "We are grateful to the hundreds of donors, consultants, contractors and volunteers who have contributed so generously to this historic effort."