Metro Baptist Church was born in 1974, as a small group of people began to pray and imagine a new church in Manhattan. Less than a year later, the small group organized and began meeting in an office building on the Upper West Side. In 1982, the community formally constituted as the Metro Baptist Church of Manhattan.

By 1984, Metro had outgrown its Sunday meeting space. The congregation began to seek a building in which to worship and organize the comunity ministries that had become central to the church's identity. They found a home at 410 W. 40th St. - an old Polish Catholic Church in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen. At the time, Hell’s Kitchen had a reputation as one of Manhattan’s seedier neighborhoods (A Metro pamphlet published in the 80s reads: “Homeless people down the block. Prostitutes on the corner. Crack dealers across the street. What a great place for a church.”). Metro relocated with a strong conviction that this was where God was calling them to be church. The day the building purchase was finalized Rev. Gene Bolin, who was Metro’s pastor at the time, stood across the street and prayed, “Lord, don’t give us this building if we can’t put it to use for people who need it 24/7.” 

In the spirit of Pastor Bolin's prayer, a growing social ministry program developed, providing food, clothing and educational services to the community. In 1995, to continue and expand these programs, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries was formally incorporated as the non-profit community ministry of Metro. RMM is named for Walter Rauschenbusch – an important theologian, social reformer, and Baptist minister who served in Hell’s Kitchen in the early 20th century. Rauschenbusch is regarded as a “father” of the Social Gospel – an early 20th century movement that emphasized salvation as both a spiritual and a social reality. Rauschenbusch believed that faith in Christ ought to prompt Christians to care for others and ultimately change their society in the way that Jesus imagined. He was passionate about the prayer, “Thy kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven.” Feeling a special connection to Walter’s theology and his Baptist heritage, while being located just three blocks from his old church (now a theatre), Metro named its social ministry “Rauschenbusch.”

Today, Metro is a congregation inspired by our heritage and energized to live into the hopeful future that stretches out ahead. We are a loving and growing church family that values diversity, creativity, openness and welcome to all, commitments to justice and peace, and active ministry to and with our community.


Metro moved to its current location in 1984. Metro members were walking up 40th St early one morning, having spent the night before volunteering around the corner at Covenant House. As they walked past the seemingly abandoned building and the people assembled on the steps they say it dawned like a lightbulb, “What a great place for a church!”

Built at the turn of the 20th Century, our building originally housed St. Clemens Polish-Catholic Church. Like other churches built in Hell's Kitchen at that time, the church served a largely immigrant population living in the neighborhood's many tenement buildings. A grand and ornate structure, the building originally functioned as both a church and a parochial school. So broad was its use that the Cardinal who blessed the church’s opening praised it for its “practicability." 

After construction of the Lincoln Tunnel led to the relocation of many of the church’s parishioners, the Diocese eventually closed the doors of St. Clemens church and its school in 1971. Before it became our home, the church building served as a rec facility (complete with basketball hoop in the sanctuary) and home of the Daytop Center for men recovering from addiction.

These days the church building maintains many of its beautiful historic features, as well as its "practicability" and broad range of uses. The sanctuary still has the ceiling murals and windows of its Polish-Catholic origin. It is a beautiful space for worship and celebration, but also a functional space for education, performance, rehearsal, and more.

Metro's building is made available periodically for weddings, events, and performances. See below for details.

Building Use

Multiple spaces at Metro are available for use, including the sanctuary, basement (kitchen and hall), and various meeting rooms. For information about space use, email mbc@mbcnyc.org or click on the Space Usage Form below to enter details of your inquiry.

Space Usage Request Form