This information was published in the Somers Congregational Church restoration news center on Sept. 20, 2012:
Rev. Dr. Barry Cass
The Ground Breaking will be held on this Sunday, September 23, at 4 P.M. making this a good time to answer some frequently asked questions.
Will the new Meeting House look like the old Meeting House?
The design for the new Meeting House replicates the old one as closely as possible on the exterior. There will be the same number of windows and the steeple will look the same. The only changes made will be to meet building codes; there will be granite steps in the front, but the rise will be shorter and they will now have consistent rise and tread dimensions.
The Interior design reflects the need to meet current building codes and add safety and accessibility. The Foundation Room will now include a “Bride’s Room” and closets for storage. A fire rated stairway will be located in the southwest corner of the new building. The kitchen will be updated and include plenty of storage. Pilgrim Hall will be replaced with a new room very much the same in design and purpose and a meeting room. The sanctuary will feature a wrap-around balcony with the organ at the rear of the room. The chancel, which will be smaller than before will no longer have “choir pews” but will have an arch and will be accessible to all. Storage will be included for the Ushers and Deacons near the chancel. The sanctuary windows will have the same stained glass as the former sanctuary.
When will construction of the new Meeting House begin?
Construction officially begins with the Ground Breaking on September 23 and workers and equipment will be on site within a week beginning site preparation and work on the foundation. Progress will be visible to all driving by on Main Street.
When will the new Meeting House construction be completed?
We expect construction to take 11 to 12 months, so we are looking forward to a Dedication Service for the new Meeting House in September 2013.
Who is building the new Meeting House?
The architectural firm of Clohessy, Harris & Kaiser, LLC, of Simsbury is designing the new Meeting House.
Petra Construction Corp. of North Haven has been hired as Construction Manager. There will be many subcontractors working on the Meeting House over the course of the year.
Will insurance cover all the costs of the new Meeting House?
We are still in the process of negotiating a final settlement with our insurance company and a final cost of construction has not been determined. There may well be expenses beyond the final settlement, in which case the church will have a Capital Campaign to raise funds from members and friends of the church.
Is the rest of the facility in use now?
Yes. The Bugbee wing opened in mid-August and the Cooperative Preschool returned at the beginning of September. Within a month restoration work will be completed in the Office wing and Carly, Liz and Barry will be back in their offices.
Are church activities and events being held?
Yes. Worship and Sunday school are held each week at the Community Education Center on the campus of Johnson Memorial Health Center on Chestnut Hill (Rte. 190). We will continue to worship there until the new Meeting house is open.
Champ’s Place is open in the Bugbee Center every Monday from 10 A.M. to noon.
Monthly Community Suppers are held in the Bugbee Center on the 15th of each month.
There will be a Pound Auction to support the Network Against Domestic Abuse on September 29 and the annual Reason for the Season Christmas Bazaar will be held on December 1. Our Nativity Display will be set up and open from December 9 through January 6. The only major event we have had to cancel, to date, is the Turkey Supper.
Regular monthly meetings of boards and committees are being held in the Bugbee Center, as is the Confirmation Class.
Are non-Church groups using the facility?
We are not able, at this time, to accommodate non-Church groups, but are looking forward to welcoming back many of those who have used our facilities in the past in 2013.
What Can I do to help?
Pray for us. Keep up to date on our progress by checking our weekly updates at the church web site www.somerscongregational.org Watch for an opportunity to participate in a fund raising event or to contribute to a Capital Campaign.
If I have further questions, whom can I ask?
Please feel free to talk with any member of the Building Committee, call the Church Office (860-763-4021) or send an email to Build@somerscongregational.org.