Old First Reformed Church needs a new ceiling, and they’re asking for some help to get it. The church, built in 1891, is Brooklyn’s oldest congregation (it began in 1654), and today acts as not only a place of worship but also a homeless shelter, a day-care facility, and a performance space. Last year, the ceiling began to collapse, threatening the structure as a whole and halting use of the main sanctuary.
So what exactly needs to be done to preserve this nationally registered historic site? Their online campaign explains:
The ornate plaster ceiling hangs from wooden supports above it, rather than being supported by bulky columns below (as in medieval cathedrals). Unfortunately, the metal fasteners that attach the ceiling to the superstructure have rusted and expanded over time, cracking the plaster. At the same time, the constant vibrations from truck and bus traffic over the past century and a quarter have caused chunks of plaster to fall. To fix the ceiling, workers will have to reattach the plaster panels to more than a half mile of wooden supports, a months-long process that will cost upwards of $700,000.
Old First is hoping to make a dent in that $700,000 through their online donation site, and then hopes to gain support of the community beyond the congregation and funding from grant sources. The church is also supplementing these donations with fundraising events through The Fourth Mission - recently, the Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash, and coming soon, the Jingle Bell Jamboree.
Donations are tax-deductible when made through PayPal, and various perks (ranging from Christmas ornaments to signed goodies to private hall rentals) are offered for different donation amounts.
Contributions are being collected until December 31 and can be made here.
Photos via Rescue Old First Brooklyn