Saturday, November 13, 2010

Churches feeling their age

From Boston-

In Roxbury, Peoples Baptist Church has closed off an entrance to the sanctuary because load-bearing beams in a stairwell have deteriorated. At the Parish of All Saints on Ashmont Street in Dorchester, water appears to be creeping into the wooden frames holding the stained-glass windows. At Pilgrim Church in Uphams Corner, the Rev. John Odams spends hours coaxing the furnace to work.

Some of Boston’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhood churches are facing costly repairs, and historic preservationists are concerned that many urban congregations lack the money and expertise to take care of them. Some of the most vulnerable are mainline Protestant churches whose congregations have shrunk dramatically since their construction, as Episcopalians and Congregationalists moved to the suburbs. Others, like Peoples Baptist, have large and active congregations but face extremely expensive repairs that members can ill afford, particularly during a recession.

“These old buildings, with their stone and slate and huge leaded-glass windows, the cost to fix them up is a lot more expensive than a little Colonial church you would find in the suburbs,’’ said Brett Donham, a Boston architect who specializes in church restoration.

More here-

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