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Renovations for an 'anchor' in the community

Zoe Greszler • Jan 23, 2016 at 4:00 PM

The First United Methodist Church is in the process of a major renovation to its sanctuary.

Anyone who has driven down West Main Street has probably seen the new cupola sitting beside the church as the finishing touches have been applied while it is still on the ground. The old sanctuary top has seen better days and ready to replaced.

“The one currently there is leaking, so we’re taking off the old covering and replacing the stained glass dome above the sanctuary,” said the Rev. Dr. Brian Olgesbee. “We’ll also be putting in (artificial) lighting with the stained glass so you can always see the stained glass and to provide lighting when it’s dark.”

The old cupola was made mostly of Plexiglass, while the new one is covered in plastic shingles and will have windows along the bottom. 

Olgesbee said the process will take three days.

“It will possibly be starting on Thursday,” he said. “They need three days of good weather to get it done. They need to take down the old covering, prep the area and put up the new one. We’ll be renting a 80-ton crane to help with the project.”

The renovation will, be the first of several possible projects for the sanctuary, but should not disrupt normal service hours the reverend said.

“This is the first phase in our restoration project,” Olgesbee said. “We’ll be having our capital campaign in April. All of the walls will need replastered, the chancel with the pulpit and choir has changes that are needed. We’ll need new painting and plastering and we’ll need a new sound system.”

Olgesbee said while he wasn’t able to provide a projected number for the public, he did think it would a significant sum, but one that was worth it. 

“It’s been 40 years since it’s been renovated so it’s about time,” he said. “We’d like to preserve the architecture. The church is from 1895 so the church has been an anchor for this part of the town. We have the other church on that side of town, St. Paul’s Catholic, but we’d like to capture and preserve it as an anchor for the community.”

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