Beliefs

Priced out of New York, American Bible Society decamps to Philadelphia

The American Bible Society will sell its 12-story building on Broadway, vacating prime real estate in the heart of Manhattan that served as a host of evangelical ministries. Photo courtesy of American Bible Society
Roy Peterson, President and CEO of American Bible Society. Photo courtesy of American Bible Society

Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. Photo courtesy of American Bible Society

(RNS) After almost two centuries in New York City, the nonprofit American Bible Society is moving its headquarters to Philadelphia.

“New York has become so extraordinarily expensive that nonprofit staff cannot afford to live in proximity to headquarters,” said Roy Peterson, the society’s president and CEO. “We don’t have a cohesive, synergistic global headquarters staff right now. And that’s why we wanted to find a city that was diverse, rich with culture and churches and language, but yet affordable.”

Some staffers have long commutes to the current headquarters on prime real estate near Lincoln Center. Others work from a rental location in Valley Forge, Pa., that will be closed when the new headquarters a block from the Liberty Bell opens around June.

Peterson said a small staff will remain in New York. The Museum of Biblical Art, which is independent but affiliated with the ABS, will also remain in New York.

The new headquarters, 401 Market St., will be housed on the eighth and ninth floors of a building shared with Wells Fargo & Co. under a 25-year leasing agreement that can be renewed for another 25. The Bible society also has proposed a ground-level “Bible Discovery Center.”

The American Bible Society will sell its 12-story building on Broadway, vacating prime real estate in the heart of Manhattan that served a host of evangelical ministries. Photo courtesy of American Bible Society

The American Bible Society will sell its 12-story building on Broadway, vacating prime real estate in the heart of Manhattan that served as a host of evangelical ministries. Photo courtesy of American Bible Society

ABS leaders realized they were sitting on a valuable asset in midtown Manhattan; the current location, a 12-story building at 1865 Broadway, is for sale and is estimated to be worth about $300 million.

Peterson, whose society supports Bible reading and seeks to have the sacred text translated into all the world’s languages, said he expects a staff of more than 200 will occupy the Philadelphia building within two years.

The society, which was founded in 1816, will set up shop in Philadelphia in time for the highly anticipated visit of Pope Francis, whom Peterson has met at the Vatican.

“We are involved in the dialogue right now about connecting with Pope Francis when he comes to Philadelphia,” he said.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the city is “honored to welcome American Bible Society to its new home.”

KRE/MG END BANKS

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

8 Comments

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  • Next up, the American Flat Earth Society is moving it’s headquarters to a place more centrally located on the flat plane of the earth……..

  • I hope the new owners will keep the atrium. It’s a pretty building on a relatively dull stretch of Broadway. It’s blocks away from Lincoln Center but you can’t actually see Lincoln Center from there. I don’t blame them at all for moving — unless you live on the Upper West Side, Harlem or Washington Heights it’s an unfortunate area to commute to.

  • That’s great they are having it translated into other languages so we can
    get the Truth to people. Jesus/the Word are that Truth. In the beginning
    was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word/Jesus was God so
    Jesus/the Word are one in the same and that verse shows and proves once
    again that Jesus is God/not created but there in the beginning! It says in the
    beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God!
    Then the Word/Jesus became flesh and dwealt among us. One God with the
    three different parts but one as Jesus Christ said I and the Father are one!

  • @Karla- John 1:1 says the Word [Jesus] was WITH God in the beginning, correct? How can he be “WITH” God and BE God? Also, GOD had no “beginning”… but Jesus did. (see Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14)
    (John 1:14 & 18) 14 So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten Son from a father; and he was full of divine favor and truth. [Jesus lived on earth for 33 1/2 years and thousands saw him as eyewitnesses]
    John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him. [Exodus 33:20 But he (God) added: “You cannot see my face, for no man can see me and live.]
    (Colossians 1:15) He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN of all CREATION.
    (Rev.3:14) [Jesus speaking] To the angel of the congregation in La·o·di·ceʹa write: These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God: [Jesus, the faithful and TRUE WITNESS says he was created by God]
    Lastly, Jesus calls someone (other than himself) God at Rev. 3:12 quoted as follows: “The one who conquers—I will make him a pillar in the temple of “MY God”, and he will by no means go out from it anymore, and I will write upon him the name of “MY God” and the name of the city of “MY God”, the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven from “MY God”, and my own new name.”
    Jesus never claimed to be God nor equal to Him. The “trinity doctrine” was “developed” over time when the early church fathers mixed Greek and Roman philosophy with scripture and apostatized from the TRUTH. (Council of Nicea 325 AD)

  • Oh, and as for translating the Bible into multiple languages so people all over the world can have a Bible in their mother tongue… I’m pretty sure that another group has already almost completed that goal.

  • CMR-Thank you for the feedback. The term Godhead is in the Bible and
    in Revelation 1:17-18 Jesus says I Am the First and the Last. What did
    God say to Moses? He said I Am. For Jesus to use I Am shows He is God
    as part of the Trinity/Godhead. One God with the three different parts.
    It can get confusing but the birth of Jesus was a miracle not a creation so
    you who say Jesus was created forget Jesus said before Abraham I Am!
    If Jesus was before Abraham that means He existed before He was born
    through Mary which was a miracle not a creation plus He also used the
    term I Am which again shows He is God as part of the Trinity/Godhead.

  • Generally its not considered a competition. The ABS does put more emphasis on production and distribution than, say, Wycliffe, which seems to be almost exclusively translation.

  • CMR-Jesus was also called Emmanuel which means God with us and
    while on earth Jesus was submitted to the will of the Trinity/Godhead
    so that’s why He said the Father was greater at that time becasue He
    was doing the wlll of the Trinity to fulfill Bible prophecy but now Jesus
    is back in heaven He is co-eternal with God the Father/the Holy Spirit.
    Jesus said I and the Father are one. All the one God with three parts.

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