Capital Campaign dollars will fund a number of key renovations and improvements to maintain our beautiful, historic facilities, make Our Home more welcoming, accessible and safe, and further efforts to expand ministry and outreach. Scroll down to see the latest project news!

April 2021 – Project Update

The vast majority of projects are now complete…new roof and gutters, new parking lot with improved lighting, beautiful new signs for the church and thrift shop, a new, more accessible vestibule entrance, and an ADA bathroom near Fellowship Hall. On the first floor, the administrative/preschool wing has new paint and flooring, updated bathrooms, wider (and more welcoming) doors at the Church Street Entrance, and a new security system. The Marvin Lounge is a more comfortable and welcoming space with insulated exterior walls, new paint, carpet, and built-in bookshelves to house our media center and library. The Sanctuary has been transformed into a bright, beautiful space with fully-restored historic windows, a new plaster ceiling, smooth walls (no more cracks!), and a fresh coat of paint throughout. The organ has been repaired and cleaned.  Stay tuned for more news about the Kitchen Renovation – the last “main goal” project on our list.

Check out pics of our progress!


Roof Replacement & Repair ($57,000)

COMPLETED – August 2018 – We replaced our 20-year old asphalt roof on the main building and repaired deteriorating slate shingles, including those on the adjacent parsonage building. We added gutters and downspouts throughout the property to better manage water run-off.

Sanctuary Restoration ($231,000)

PLASTER REPAIR & PAINTING – COMPLETED – April 2020 – Our sanctuary was closed for several months in early 2020 while the original plaster ceiling in the sanctuary was completely removed and replaced. This was a massive undertaking, but the investment will result in a ceiling that will last at least another 100 years! Cracked walls were repaired and patched. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling, walls, trim and pews have transformed the sanctuary into a bright, welcoming, beautiful space for worship.

WINDOW RESTORATION – COMPLETED – November 2019 – Our historic windows and shutters, made of rare “old growth” wood, were completely restored and repainted. New storm windows were fabricated and installed as well. Historic architecture specialist Sally Fishburn recommended that restoration of the windows would improve function, safety, energy efficiency and comfort, while still preserving the historic fabric of the church (click here for full copy).

ORGAN REPAIRS – COMPLETED – November 2019 – Our organ was repaired, cleaned, and restored so that our beloved music ministries may continue to flourish. A second phase of work is planned as a stretch goal project.

Parking Lot Restoration & Entrance Accessibility ($438,182)

COMPLETED – September 2019 – Our facility is now more accessible and welcoming to the estimated 250-350 people who come through our doors every week. We have a new handicapped-accessible bathroom near Fellowship Hall, a new accessible vestibule entrance, a refreshed foyer, and a new worship supply storage area on the upper level of our two-story addition. We have a beautiful new sign and new exterior lights. By addressing major drainage problems, our parking lot is now safer and easier to maintain.







Administrative Wing Improvements: Accessibility, Energy Efficiency & Safety ($110,610)

COMPLETED – February 2021 – Insulation has been added to the Marvin Lounge walls, making the room more comfortable and energy-efficient. It was determined that no additional insulation was needed in the Pastor’s office. The Marvin Lounge insulation project gave us the perfect opportunity to give the room a much-needed makeover, including new paint and carpet along with some bookshelves to house our media center and library. The two bathrooms on the lower level were both redone to improve appearance and function, including the installation of new grab bars.

We also bumped up a few stretch goal projects due to the $47,000 federal grant we received from the Department of Homeland Security. The grant paid for a new security system with keyless entry, and new classroom/office locks. The grant also helped pay for the new, wider doors at the Church Street entrance, making them wider and more accessible. We also needed to address the flooring in the administrative wing in order to complete the new entrance. We removed asbestos tile from the hallways and offices, and we installed beautiful new vinyl flooring. The halls are now brighter and more welcoming with a fresh coat of paint.

NOTE:  Originally, we planned to add a new handicapped-accessible bathroom to this wing. However, there were concerns about the proposed location of the bathroom (within the Marvin Lounge), and we were unable to find a feasible alternate location. Thankfully, we DO now have a fully accessible entrance and bathroom near the parking lot, so that ALL may visit our Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.

Kitchen Capacity Expansion for Outreach & Ministry (estimated budget: $50,000)

As in our own homes, our kitchen is a hub of activity and hospitality. Whether used for the food pantry, preparing communion, making pies and pretzels with our youth, the craft fair cafe, Easter breakfast, potluck dinners, AA meetings, Scout meetings, or celebrations and funerals, our kitchen must be functional and efficient. Some kitchen upgrades have already occurred with the addition of a new commercial stove and oven. The full renovation of the kitchen would make it comply with the commercial kitchen guidelines, adding a handwashing station and commercial sinks. This could allow the church to serve meals to the larger community on a more regular basis.




A New Priority:  Elevator Modernization (estimated budget: $85,000)

In 2021, Council approved a new Campaign project priority: the complete modernization of our existing elevator in order to bring our elevator up to date with current building and ADA codes, as well as ensure the safe, reliable function of the elevator for many years to come. In June 2020, our long-time elevator servicer indicated that certain parts would no longer be serviceable if/when they broke. The recommendation was to modernize, not replace, the existing elevator because the modernization would last just as long but cost about half as much. The elevator was first made possible in 1978 by a generous donation from Mr. Harry Teachout, a member of the Essex community who was not able to attend worship due to difficulty managing the stairs. Through his bequest, he wanted to make sure that the church would be accessible for everyone who came after him.

Remaining Stretch Goal Projects (estimated budget: $43,000)

Our initial Campaign budget included several additional projects to be completed as funds allowed. These projects reflect the priorities shared by the congregation during a campaign feasibility study and also include new needs that were identified through the campaign planning process.

The remaining Stretch Goal projects include:

  • New Flooring for 2nd Floor hallway ($9,100)
  • New wo0d-look vinyl flooring in the gym to reduce noise ($14,400)
  • New durable wood-look vinyl flooring in Fellowship Hall (19,500)

The following Stretch Goal projects are complete or no longer needed:

  • Upgrade the sound system to facilitate online-streaming of worship services ($20,000) (memorial funds used)
  • Create a second emergency exit from the choir loft ($5,000) (the Fire Marshal assessed the space and said that he has no safety concerns about the current egress)
  • Establish Maintenance Reserve Fund ($25,000) (funded via Endowment distributions and budget carry-over)
  • Make Church Street entrance more accessible and safe with larger doorways and a keyless entry system ($30,000)  (completed with security grant funding)
  • Sawyer House improvements, including a new furnace and Thrift Store bathroom remodel ($30,000) (bathroom completed in 2019;  furnace replaced in 2020 using Trustee budget)
  • Remove old asbestos tile & install new flooring in the administrative /daycare wing ($52,200)
  • Replace organ pistons with new technology ($20,000) (no longer a priority per Music Committee)
  • Heating improvement for the Gym (Trustees repaired the Gym heaters in 2020)

Capital Campaign projects were initially developed by our Trustees and then prioritized by a cross-section of the congregation during a 2016 feasibility study. Project plans and cost estimates were further refined by the Capital Campaign Steering Committee with input from architect John Alden (Scott + Partners, Inc.). Project plans were shared with the congregation during a series of Informational Meetings in January 2018.