September/October 2017 - Steeple Restortion Project update
On September 3rd, under threatening skies, our newly restored steeple was dedicated. After a two year process of grant writing, fundraising and construction, our beautiful steeple was revealed for all to see. Only the day before, the staging came down and the sight of that steeple reaching up and touching the sky was a sight to behold. The belfry was as blue as the sky and the weathervane gleamed brightly in the sunshine. The restored stained-glass windows were in place and their colors were luminous once again. The slate was back on the spire and it was all perfection.
There are so many people to thank for making this a reality, but the credit really goes to Jim Derby. He told us about the Maine Steeple Project in July 2015 and it has been a pleasure working with him throughout this long process. His craftsmanship is beyond compare. With the slate roof in the front and the flat roof in the back his work is nearly complete. I’m going to miss his presence around Second Congregational Church. If you get the opportunity, thank him for his hard work and expertise.
The final figures aren’t in yet for the total cost, but approximately $105,000 was raised for this project. $30,000 of that, of course, came from the grant and we still have a final report to make before the remainder is granted. It’s really astounding what can be accomplished when an entire village comes together to preserve the history of a church steeple.
This has been challenging at times for all who were close to this project, but in the end it was also gratifying and rewarding. Our steeple once again stands beautifully for all that being Congregationalist means…faith, freedom and fellowship.
- Irene Maxcy
June 1, 2017 - Steeple Restortion Project update
A year ago in May, we received our grant from the Maine Steeple Project and to date have raised $97,753.19 (this includes half the grant). We will receive the other half when the steeple restoration is complete, which will probably be late summer.
With the framing repairs, metal roofing, slate roofing and the weathervane re-gilding finished, we are now in the home stretch. The painting preparation is nearly complete with only a few more days needed for scraping and sanding. There is still some trim and flashing repairs to be done, reassembling the bell cradle, belfry ceiling repairs, and other miscellaneous tasks. Also, the stained-glass windows need to be installed, but that won't happen until the staging is down.
The biggest remaining tasks are re-roofing three of the four roofs which intersect the steeple and the painting. New speakers for the bell tower will be purchased and installed before the staging comes down. When the staging does come down it will be for sale. If you are interested or know of anyone who is, please speak to a trustee.
This has been an all-consuming task for the past two years, but we have been blessed to have Jim doing the restoration work and grateful to everyone who has helped with fundraising. A big thank-you to Caring & Sharing for donating the proceeds of the Spring Fling to the Steeple Fund. With your help we are almost there!
The Slate and Weather Vane are finished
Anyone who is at church during the week knows the steeple restoration continues despite the winter weather.
Jim has finished the framing repairs and the metal roof is nearly complete. He has started building the staging to access the spire roof and is searching for slate that will match the lower roof. He continues to work on trim and siding repairs.
The 3 stained-glass windows removed from the steeple are finished, but will remain at StainedGlass Express in Manchester until Jim is ready to install them. It is simply more efficient to paint the window sills and trim before installing the sash. And painting requires fifty degree days.
Donations for the steeple have been few since December. Caring & Sharing plan to donate the proceeds from the Spring Fling to the steeple, but that is the only fundraiser currently planned. We had one year to raise the necessary funds from the time the grant was awarded (May 2016), so June 1st will signal the end to this fundraising campaign, 3 months remain.
Please consider a donation if you haven't already done so. And special thanks to those who pledged and are faithfully fulfilling that pledge.
March 1, 2017 - Steeple Restortion Project update
August 29, 2016 - Steeple Restoration Project update
After a year of assessments and discussions, Jim Derby started building the staging up the steeple on Monday, August 22. It's our very own "stairway to heaven". When he finishes the staging, his next task will be to support the rotted steeple framing. It's finally happening!
The steeple fundraising committee has been very busy this summer. We had a successful sale at Montsweag in July and lawn sale at Sharon's home in August. The two sales totalled over $1800! Thanks to everyone who donated items to our sales and helped with the overwhelming task of pricing, packing and unpacking.
Our Applebee's fundraiser yielded $352, as well as, another $300 in donations. Our thanks to the overwhelming support we received from both our congregation and Warren Baptist Church. Everyone had an opportunity for fellowship over a good meal, all for a good cause.
We are meeting in early September to brainstorm other ideas. Any help with fundraising would be very much appreciated.
Our Highway to Heaven
Click for more photos
Nine months ago we met with Maine Preservation for an initial assessment of our steeple. We got the go ahead to apply for an assessment grant and Jim Derby completed an assessment in late October 2015 with the Maine Steeples Project paying for all but ten percent. The next step was applying for a restoration grant with a deadline of May 1st, which we submitted in April. Last week we received the good news that we qualified for the full $60,000 allowed! We will receive $30,000 now and the remainder when the job is complete.
Our responsibility in this is to raise the rest of the funds, which amounts to $90,000. We have currently raised around $25,000 and have approximately $10,000 in our maintenance fund. If you haven't already given to the steeple fund please consider a donation or a pledge now. We have a year to raise the money needed and two years to complete the work.
Jim Derby has been hired to do the steeple restoration and will begin work in late August and he estimates the work to take approximately nine months. Included in that estimate is some stained glass window work which would be completed after the steeple is finished and which he would not do. This is a long-term project and ultimately means replacing the other handicap ramp.
The steeple restoration is going to be happening soon and we need the entire congregation to help us with this. If you have any ideas for fundraising please share them with the fundraising committee (Rev. Andy, Gayle White, Irene Maxcy, and Carolyn Robinson). If we work together toward this goal our steeple will be standing strong for the next 100 years and that is a legacy we can all be proud of.