By Debra J. Groom
State Street United Methodist Church in Fulton has reached out many times to help people in the Fulton community.
Now, people in the Fulton community are being asked to help the church.
The historic brick building at South Fourth and Park streets is in need of a new roof and other repairs. On Saturday, church officials and the congregation kicked off a capital campaign to raise $250,000 with a service and celebration at the church.
Politicians and officials who use the church building spoke about what State Street church means to them and why keeping it open is so vital to Fulton.
“Two years ago this July, we came to this church,” said Nancy Fox, director of CNY Arts Center in Fulton. “We needed a home and they worked with us and helped us.”
The CNY Arts Center now runs a summer camp, children’s theater program, an afterschool drama club and other art events at the church. The center’s administrative offices also are in the church building, allowing it to use a space downtown on South First Street as the Arts in the HeART gallery.
“The church gave us a roof over our heads,” she said. “Now the church needs a roof.”
Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. said State Street church holds a fond spot in his heart – nearly 46 years ago, he and his wife stood at the State Street church altar and exchanged marriage vows.
“This church is so willing to give – there is such a unique group here that has opened their hearts to youth,” he said. “And to have a place that is on the historic register makes it all worth it.”
Tom Moore, owner of Synergistic Martial Arts, said he ran a martial arts school in Syracuse for years, but wanted to open one in his hometown of Fulton. He had no idea how and where he would be able to do it.
“I called around to various places and State Street was the only one who called back and wanted to work with me,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to teach what I teach without State Street.”
“This church and other churches I the city are the foundation for everything that happens in this community,” said county Legislator Frank Castiglia Jr,. fondly remembering he took horn lessons in the church basement as a child. “This church is part of Fulton’s past – but we need this church to move to the future.”
To date, the church has raise about $165,000 of the $250,000 through donations and some grants.
And now it need help from the community.
“We have put an awful lot of work into this and we are just getting started,” said the Rev. Marion M. Moore-Colgan, pastor.
“A successful campaign will mike it possible for State Street UMC to replace the church’s badly eroded roof and make other essential repairs to this Fulton historic landmark,” said Barbara Camic, co-chair of the campaign with Mike Stafford.
Church officials announced Saturday State Street church has received a $35,000 Sacred Sites Wilson Challenge Grant from the New York State Conservancy.
“We are thrilled to have received this wonderful,competitive grant,” Camic said. ”State Street will be required to match $20,000 of this grant over the next 12 months, but we are confident we can do just that.”
The campaign also has two other special giving opportunities, made possible by longtime friend and generous supporter Bill Fivaz.
Fivaz will match 1:1 the first 10 gifts of $500 or more and fund a permanent plaque, to be placed in a prominent location in the church, that will list both the names of those who make gifts of $500 or more in honor of someone involved with State Street church or anyone a donor chooses.
Founded in 1890, State Street United Methodist Church has long played a prominent role in the Fulton community. In 2013, State Street was added to both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places in recognition of its architectural value.