Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church


178 Bennett Ave.

New York, NY 10040

After getting off the A train at 190th Street and walking down Bennett Avenue, you will run into a little, old, and interesting church called Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church.

Bennett Avenue is a small avenue in Washington Heights, ranging about 12 blocks, in an area that has been the home of many Jewish members of the Washington Heights community.  This small block even hosts a small Jewish School and the Mount Sinai Jewish Center, as well as many other congregations, all on this 12-block span.  Around the corner of Bennett Ave. and 187th Street, you will run into Overlook Terrace, a street where you can climb a 130-step staircase into the next block over, and be at the western end of Manhattan, and obtain a beautiful view of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge.

Bennett Avenue itself is quite a beauty, and with its strong Jewish influences, it was interesting to find a beautiful and quite old looking Lutheran church in the middle of it.

Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church (OSA) wasn’t always called that way.  It all started with two little churches branching from St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement and the Church of Our Saviour.  Both tried their best to stay on their feet, but after moving their congregations a number of times, they made the decision that a merger would be best for both.

In 1927, the churches finally united, creating Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church. In 1928, they built the parish house that we still see today on Bennett Avenue.  Sadly, due to the stock market crash, they were unable to build any more for the church, so this building stands alone to handle all the responsibilities a church must endure.  They planned on having a Lutheran Hospital and a gothic sanctuary, but these plans never came to life due to the depression.  The minimal size of the church has its difficulties, but at the same time, this church is quite grand, having many things that other churches don’t, such as a bowling alley, a full gymnasium, and a sewing room.

The stock market crash did not allow the physical aspects of the church to rise to their full potential, but that didn’t stop the actual congregation from growing.  They started with around 600 baptized members, and have continued to keep their parish alive with incoming youth who are willing to work and volunteer to help their congregation flourish.

Photos by Marcela Villa

For more information, you can go onto the church’s home website:  http://www.osanyc.org/index.html