Brooklyn Churches Struggling to Maintain Their Historic Buildings

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    Brooklyn’s churches often struggle to keep up with maintenance and repairs on their large, historic buildings. The Brown Memorial Baptist Church on Washington Avenue and Gates Avenue in Clinton Hill has tried in recent years to raise the funds to fix a stained glass window. According to the Brooklyn Paper, one of the church’s 12 stained glass windows is in dire need of repair due to water damage. The church won a $200,000 grant, but it still needs an additional $150,000 to complete the work. “’We’re asking the community to help restore a living, breathing part of history,'” the chair of the church’s window restoration committee told the paper. It has raised $15,000 from the congregation so far. Even churches in Park Slope, where presumably those in the congregation have more resources, haven’t been immune. The Old First Reformed Church on Carroll Street and Seventh Avenue, one of the oldest in the borough, closed its sanctuary in 2011 when the ceiling looked as if it were about to crumble. The church raised $200,000 but has yet to find an architect to do the work. As we reported back in 2012 when the church was seeking $700,000 for repairs, “plaster panels must be reattached to more than a half-mile of wooden supports with new fasteners, and the process will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take months to complete.” So many Brooklyn blocks are anchored by historic churches, but with dwindling congregations, many of them are hard pressed to fund expensive repairs on their historic buildings leading to situations like the uncertain future of Fourth Avenue’s Church of the Redeemer, the collapsing roof on a Crown Heights church in 2012 and sales to developers resulting the loss of historic interiors.

    Come Hell or Falling Plaster: Brooklyn Churches Struggle to Keep Out The Elements [Brooklyn Paper]

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