Ceiling Fix A Costly Burden For Historic Brooklyn Church
Efforts are now under way to restore a beloved Brooklyn church that's also one of the borough's oldest. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
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Pastor Daniel Meeter will tell you that the main sanctuary of the Old First Reformed Church was not just a place for his parishioners.
"It's been used by other congregations for their services, Christian and Jewish. It's a place where we've had Imams on the pulpit. It's a grief not to be able to do all that," says Rev. Meeter.
That's because the room with its ornate stained glass windows and woodwork, massive pipe organ and large mural of the resurrection story is off-limits. Plaster began falling from the ceiling last year, forcing parishioners to worship in a smaller room within the church.
Now an effort is under way to raise funds to fix the ceiling, with an estimated price tag upwards of $1.5 million.
"We're going to have to learn a new way of going to the community and saying, 'We've been generous to you, can you be generous to us back?' And we think everybody gets the benefit of that," says Rev. Meeter.
The congregation of around 160 people has already held events to try to benefit from that generosity, including a bluegrass concert put together by musician and Old First parishioner Michael Daves that raised $25,000.
"When I walked in this place the first time I was just in awe, I knew I wanted to get to come here. And it's a very uplifting space, it's very beautiful, they just don't make spaces like this anymore," says Daves.
Reverend Meeter says he wants the space to be available to the wider community once again.
"I think the city needs sacred spaces, I mean this is a space where everybody's welcome," notes Meeter.
And even though there is a lot of work to be done, the pastor is confident the sanctuary will be back in business sooner rather than later.
"I hope it's going to be Easter, when we can celebrate new life out of an old body," says Meeter. "That's a target, yes, we're thinking two Easters from now."
To find out more about the church or to help out, visit indiegogo.com/rescueoldfirst.