The State Street United Methodist Church in Fulton will be receiving some additional funds to help replace its roof and repair one of its bell towers thanks to the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
The conservancy announced last week that the church will be one of 22 across the state to receive the latest round of Sacred Sites Grants, which are awarded exclusively to historic religious properties.
“Religious institutions anchor their communities,” Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy stated in a release on the grant. “They remind us of our history and provide vital social service and cultural programs today.”
The conservancy awarded State Street UMC the Robert W. Wilson Sacred Sites Challenge Grant of $35,000 to go toward the roof and towers project. This marks the second Sacred Sites Grant the church has received for the project, after being awarded another for $2,250 last spring.
The roof and tower project was born out of a three-year $250,000 capital campaign church officials launched around a year-and-a-half ago. In addition to the roof and towers, the campaign aims to raise funds for things like brick work and repairs to stained glass windows. Lately, though, church officials have found there is more urgency in getting the roof repaired.
“The one bell tower has rotten wood around the windows. It’s imperative that it be repaired. It doesn’t have to be replaced, only repaired. The roof is bad, too. Shingles are being blow off in every wind that we have,” said Barbara Camic, who helps coordinate the campaign. “Last fall, we repaired some leaks for emergency reasons, but there’s still a lot to do.”
Church officials estimate the roof and tower project on its own will cost around $190,000. This week, contractors will be returning bids that will give a more certain figure, Camic said. Of the $190,000, she estimates $70,000 would have to go toward the bell tower. The goal, Camic says, is for the church to line up a contractor quickly and have that work completed by winter.
Raising the money to cover the roof and tower project remains an ongoing effort. The capital campaign kicked off as a private effort among the church and members of its congregation. Camic said parishioners have been making pledges and donations since it all started a year-and-a-half ago. In May, however, church officials went public with the campaign, asking local officials to help publicize the endeavor, and hosting fundraisers to benefit the roof fund.
“State Street has a long history here and has been a pivotal place in this community,” Camic said. “We feel an obligation to fight for this not just for us, but for the community itself.”
Completed in 1894, the church has served a number of roles to the community over the years, Camic said. It was the first to launch a soup kitchen, which has since been taken over by the Salvation Army. In 1918, when a devastating flu epidemic struck the area, leaving the hospitals overwhelmed, State Street UMC opened its doors and began offering beds.
So far, between contributions from the congregation, local fundraising efforts and grant funds, a little more than half of what is needed to get the roof repaired has been raised. But a lot more help is needed, Camic said.
Upcoming roof fund benefits include a hair cutting/bake sale event Thursday beginning at 3 p.m., and a barbecue chicken fundraiser on Sept. 7. beginning at noon. Both events will be held at the church, 357 State St., Fulton.