Location of the Church Service for Sunday, April 22, 2018.
The First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted will hold it's April 22, 2018 service at the community room of the town garage on Route 44 at 10:00 am. Due to serious roof framing issues with our church building, services are NOT being held at the church building in Barkhamsted Center until further notice. We anticipate services will be held at the community room of the town garage each Sunday probably for the next couple of months or so. If there are exceptions we will let you know. Check here for the latest news.
We get a generous grant! The First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted is pleased to announce that on April 5, 2018 we have received approval for an $18,000 grant from the Eva M. Coty Fund, a fund of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation. This grant will cover a portion of our costly and extensive roof repairs. We so appreciate this generous grant from the Foundation.
We have been very concerned that roof repair costs could threaten the viability of our church, and this grant helps to alleviate that concern. With this grant and earlier grants from the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Economic and Community Development, we can now cover a major portion of the costs. We plan to initiate soon a grass roots capital campaign to request donations from the community, which will also help.
Thank you so much for your support!
Church hires contractor to do framing repairs
The First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted has signed a contract with Kronenberger & Sons Restoration (Middletown, CT) to make repairs on the roof framing at our church building. Preliminary work has started already and the main effort will start in mid April. When the project will be completed we do not know for sure, but we are hopeful that the repairs will be done by early June. When the repairs are done, we expect that the church building will reopen for use. After the roof stabilization work is completed, we will ask for bids and select a contractor to complete the remaining portion of the project which includes re-shingling the roof, flashing and other work around the belfry and some repairs to our plaster ceiling.
We got four bids by the March 12 deadline, reviewed them, got input from our engineering firm and selected the lowest bidder: Kronenberger & Sons Restoration. They are experienced in repair work involving old post and beam framing which is what we have at our church. Because the church is an historic structure, we wanted to preserve as much of the existing framing as possible. One of the early options proposed was completely replacing the roof framing with a modern truss system, but that was rejected because we did not want to completely remove the original framing. The structural stabilization design done by our engineers will keep virtually all the old framing.
Partial funding for this project will be provided by a grant from Connecticut’s Historic Restoration Fund through the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Economic and Community Development and also by a grant from Eva M. Coty Fund of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation (see announcement above). We are very thankful to these two for this support.
Unless we get a huge snow storm in April, it appears that we got through the winter without a roof failure caused by snow load. None of the options available to address snow load on the roof were good, but in early December the decision was made to have almost the entire roof covered with a new tarp, this time on both sides of the roof. The goal was to hopefully have the tarp shed snow and also to stop water damage from the leaky roof. On December 8, 2017, the tarp was installed (see photo below). The next day we got about five inches of snow, and within a day or two the snow had been shed from the roof. We realized that the snow would not always come off right after a storm, but we hoped that the slippery tarp would prevent a buildup of snow over several storms, and it did just that. Now (mid April 2018) after several winter storms, the tarp has performed very well, with most of the light snow storms we have received being quickly shed off the tarp on the roof.
Photo above - church tarp being installed on the roof on December 8, 2017.
Photo above- so far, so good! A couple of days after getting about 5 inches of snow, the blue tarp has no snow on it and the area not covered by the tarp (below the belfry) has snow sticking to the shingles. The structural issues in the roof framing are located from the mid point of the roof and toward the right in this photo (taken December 11, 2017).
Church Holds Annual Meeting - January 21, 2018 Our church held its annual meeting at the assembly room of the town highway garage (as you probably know, our church building is unavailable due to roof framing problems). After a nice pizza lunch, reports covering 2017 activities were presented from the pastor, officers and committees. It has been quite a year. The 2018 budget was discussed and adopted. Officers and committees were elected or appointed. A lot of people have worked hard for our church to make it run as smoothly as possible, and we are grateful to all who have given their time and resources.
Photo above - church annual meeting January 21, 2018.
Church Pageant - December 17, 2017 We had our traditional Christmas pageant on December 17 even though our church building is temporarily closed. The pageant followed a short Sunday service at the town garage assembly hall. We had an excellent turnout and lots of kids playing the roles of angels, animals and other characters of the Nativity. Everyone had fun!
Photo above- most of the cast of the pageant held December 17, 2017
Photo at left- our Sunday, October 15, 2017 church service was held on the portico of the church. We cannot use the interior of the building due to roof framing issues.
Sunday services have been held at the Senior Center, but we were not able to use the Senior Center this Sunday. Each year during Riverton Fair weekend, the Barkhamsted Seniors have a big tag sale fund raising event and needed the Senior Center building to support that effort. So we had our service back at the church, and fortunately the day was fairly warm and the rain held off.
It was nice hearing the church bell ringing again! Sunday services will return back to the Senior Center starting October 22.
Photo above - Church tag sale on October 14, 2017. With the Riverton Fair drawing a lot of traffic, what better day to hold a tag sale to raise funds for our church? This is the third year we have done a tag sale. The location is on West River Road in Pleasant Valley and a lot of people going to the Riverton Fair stopped in to see what we had for sale. Fortunately the rain held off, and we made $416 for the church.
Help us out! Save your tag sale items for next year. We collect stuff all year, so keep us in mind.
We got the state grant! - October 4, 2017 Today, October 4, 2017, Church restoration committee chairperson Leslie Cosgrove announced that our Church has received preliminary approval of our $50,000 grant application by the State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development from their Connecticut’s Historic Restoration Fund.” The grant will be formally approved when all the paperwork is completed and signed, which should be done soon.
This is a matching grant, so our Church will need to raise at least an additional $50,000 to complete the work. The work involves critical structural framing repairs to the roof of the church building, and also includes other necessary repair work such as re-shingling the roof of the building. The church building has been closed since late August 2017 because of structural deficiencies discovered by engineers hired by the Church to look at the integrity of the building.
The work required to fix these issues and to re-shingle the roof of the building and complete some additional tasks is expected to cost a significant amount. The actual cost will not be determined until the proposed work is put out to bid and a contractor's bid is accepted. The process of getting bids and selecting a contractor are the next steps. The Church will need to cover up front 100% of the cost of the project, and the $50,000 grant funds will be paid to the Church after the project is completed.
It is our hope to complete the project in the next several months, although that schedule may be a little optimistic. When the work is done, the church building will be reopened for Sunday services. Until then, services are being held at the Barkhamsted Senior Center on West River Road. Services are at 10 a.m. and all are welcome.
Meeting of the Congregation - September 17, 2017 On September 17, 2017, our Church held the Sunday service at the Barkhamsted Senior Center on West River Road in Barkhamsted. After the service, a meeting of the Congregation was held at the Senior Center. At that meeting it was decided to continue to hold our 10:00 am Sunday Church services at the Barkhamsted Senior Center for at least the immediate future. Our Church building in Barkhamsted Center cannot be used until roof framing deficiencies are addressed. At the meeting, this effort was also discussed, specifically a need for a fundraising plan and a need to develop options for temporary repairs or permanent repairs as soon as possible.
Photo above - meeting of the Congregation on September 17, 2017 at the Barkhamsted Senior Center.
Old Home Day -- September 10, 2017 Old Home Day activities began with the Sunday worship services at 10:00. Because of the roof issues the service was held outside the Church on the Portico. Following the service, the traditional group photograph of all participants was taken on the steps of th Church portico. After the service we enjoyed a Pot Luck luncheon...what a nice warm sunny day for all the activities!
Following the lunch, a we hiked about a half mile down to the west side of the Barkhamsted Reservoir and visited several historic sites including the location of the original meeting house built in 1784 (dismantled just after the Civil War) and the Center schoolhouse and cemetery.
Photo above left...the September 10, 2017 "Old Home Day" service held on the step of the Church. Photo above right...the traditional Old Home Day group photo - September 10, 2017.
Roof Issues Update -- August 2017 In late August of 2017, the engineering firm GNCB discovered additional structural issues in the Church roof framing and recommended that the building not be occupied until these issues are corrected. Therefore, regular Church worship services will not be held in the Sanctuary until further notice. We very much regret these developments, but in the interest of safety feel we must follow the recommendations of the engineers. Stay tuned here for updates on the location of future worship services.
Roof Issues Photo at left- our Church. Look closer and you can see a big tan tarp covering part of the roof. We have a leaky roof, and worse- the roof framing has issues. This tarp lasted about a year, now (late 2017) it is pretty much in tatters.
In 2016 we hired a structural engineering firm to pinpoint the framing problems. That investigation is now in process. The first recommendation was to make some critical temporary fixes to shore up the problem timbers. This was completed in December 2016 -- just in time to prevent any damage from the winter snow load!
This church is an old structure that is on the National Register of Historic Places, so we need to make permanent repairs to the framing that will preserve as much of the building fabric as possible. That goal is what we are currently working on.