HRBT FUNDING HELPS SUPPORT CHURCH ROOF
PHASE ONE WORK BEGINS ON HUDSON'S HISTORIC LANDMARK CHURCH
HUDSON – As the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church of Hudson begin research and grant writing in earnest to fund permanent repairs to the church roof, the Hudson River Bank and Trust Foundation has stepped in to lend a hand by providing part of the funds needed for more immediate, temporary stabilization. The Foundation has announced a $10,000 award, available immediately, to help pay for temporary flooring above the sanctuary ceiling as well as stabilizing beams prior to more permanent repairs.
“The Church is a landmark in Hudson,” said HRBT representative Tony Jones. “But, more than just a physical building, the Church contributes through their outreach. That covers two of our support criteria: Historic Preservation and Community Development.” Prior to the temporary closing in November, the Presbyterian Church hosted or was in relationship with Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Re-Entry Taskforce of Columbia County, and the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center among others.
Completion of the temporary stabilization is expected in mid-November. “Hopefully, it will be in time for us to open our doors for our annual community Thanksgiving Dinner,” added Reverend Kathryn Beilke. “We appreciate our temporary sanctuary across the street at Camphill Solaris (360 Warren Street, Hudson), but it will be good to get back to the Church. We are grateful to contributions from the Presbytery of Albany, individual donors and HRBT for helping move us towards that goal.”
The Church is actively seeking the funds to cover the substantial costs necessary to replace the
entire main roof of this historic building – erected in 1837. For those interested in donating to help with this major restoration – expected to take more than 18 months, go to
HUDSON – Structural repairs to the roof of the First Presbyterian Church are beginning this week. “Our first priority”, said John Grover, coordinator for the project, “is to stabilize the existing roof trusses and associated wood framing. Once that is completed, the doors can reopen.”
The initial phase also includes installing a temporary floor, so workers can function safely during the duration of the roof repair. Then, through-bolts, steel plates and steel cables will be connected to the most seriously compromised trusses restoring some structural integrity.
“We are grateful to the Presbytery of Albany,” added church Elder Theresa Parsons, “for a $50,000 long-term loan covering these initial emergency repairs. With that funding and with other contributions from local churches and individuals, we are within reach of what is needed for the emergency repairs. The Friends of the First Presbyterian Church has recently applied to a local foundation for a grant to cover the shortfall. It gives us some breathing room while we raise funds for the bigger project – replacing the entire roof.”
The stabilization is expected to take 6-8 weeks and is being undertaken by Erich Kress, a woodworker and expert in the repair of old buildings. “He was instrumental in the work done on our rose window,” Grover explained. “His handling of the woodwork and joining was exemplary. He really knows how craftsmen from 100 years ago built structures like this one.”
Also part of the initial repair are the brackets, custom made by the metal workers at Silvernail Welding of Stottville. “Those brackets are key to creating a solid floor for all the workmen who will be involved,” Grover explained. “We’ve been really fortunate to have such experts living nearby. It’s made the job of the structural engineers immensely easier.”
The Church is actively seeking the funds to cover the substantial costs necessary to replace the entire main roof of this historic building – erected in 1837. For those interested in donating to help with this major restoration – expected to take more than 18 months, go to www.savethebuilding.org. During this temporary closure, services are held Sundays at Camphill Solaris, 360 Warren Street, Hudson.
IN HUDSON AND SYRIA; ITS THE PEOPLE WHO PERSEVERE
HUDSON – Although the parishioners at Hudson’s Presbyterian Church are knee deep in roof restoration and displaced themselves, it hasn’t stopped them from carrying their mission to help others half-way round the world. With more than 1 million Syrians in Lebanon displaced by war, the refugee camp Ketermaya has become a city in itself. But, as might be expected, a city without the most basic necessities.
Documentarian Lucas Jedrzejak recorded the experiences of this camp, outside Beirut, where there are hundreds of children living in poverty. During repeat visits, he even gave the camera to the children themselves. The result? A dynamic, moving story of life in this temporary city.
“It is a place with no educational supplies, very little food and minimal sanitation,” said Danette
Gorman, a Hudson resident. “I was so moved when I saw the film that I approached my pastor, Kathryn Beilke at the First Presbyterian Church, in hopes of persuading her to help somehow.” Beilke took the reins, setting up a Go-Fund- Me site and creating a mission so Gorman could visit the camp and bring much needed educational materials.
“I ended up delivering tote bags filled with school supplies to 134 children,” Gorman says. “And I carried instruments donated by [Hudson retailer] Musica.” Now formalized as The Hudson-Ketermaya Connection, the organization has also created a PenPal program with Hudson’s public school and young Muslim students. Beginning in September, each child in Ketermaya will write an introductory letter about themselves to be matched with a Hudson student. Translated letters will go back and forth between the children each quarter of the school year. Correspondence will nurture reading and writing skills in both communities while developing long-range awareness and friendships.
On Sunday, August 6th , a benefit will be held at Basilica Hudson, 110 S. Front St. beginning at 4pm. Ryder Cooley and her band will perform, food provided by Taste of India and Mr. Ding-a- Ling Ice Cream will be available for purchase and Jedrzejak’s documentary will be screened at 4:30pm followed by a Q&A session with the visiting director.
Then a second film, by noted documentarian Don Downey, will be shown. A church member and
Hudson resident, Downey has recorded the “state-side” interaction between Hudson’s children and those at the refugee camp. Also on the program is music by an interfaith orchestra and community choir. Anyone wishing to participate with the choir is encouraged to attend a rehearsal immediately prior to the event – at 3pm.
Entry is free of charge with a suggested donation of $5. - $10. All proceeds go towards the Ketermaya refugee camp for Syrian children and families. Donations are managed through the First Presbyterian Church of Hudson and are tax deductible.
“These children continue to have hope, not despair,” Gorman concluded. “And members of our church have stepped forward to continue helping – all the while being sort of homeless themselves. This is all about people who persevere.”
Learn more about this bridge-building effort at http://firstpreshudson.org/ or
THIS CHURCH NEEDS SAVING
HUDSON - In November of this year, the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson was told they had to vacate the premises. A report by Ryan Briggs and Clark Davis, engineers and recognized experts in assessing historical structures, warned that the roofing framework had deteriorated significantly. Roof rafters and beams had become detached from exterior load bearing walls. Others were no longer solid – having suffered from 180 years of stress, settling and moisture. Circumstances were –and are - dire. Just to stabilize the existing structure will cost between $50,000 and $100,000. To completely restore the structural integrity of the roof will require substantially more.
Phil Forman, president of the Friends of the Presbyterian Church, has announced the launch of a campaign to raise the funds. “We are still awaiting estimates for a complete restoration,” he said. “Until we have a vetted scope and willing contractor for the entire project, I don’t want to quote a specific number.” Referring to the renovation and installation of the church’s spectacular rose window, Forman said, “Hudson has always come through whenever we have asked. Right now the problem is time. Donations are needed immediately just to secure the structure.” The group has set up a page for contributions: www.savethebuilding.org.
Known for its soaring Gothic style, almost every photo of Warren Street includes a glimpse of the church and its iconic steeple. The building is a national, state and locally designated historic landmark and has inspired generations of Hudsonians throughout its 181 year history. Nineteenth century Hudson River painters were among the congregants and, famously, Lafayette is said to have spoken to the townspeople on that corner - Warren and Fourth Streets.
“Because our membership assembles in this beautiful building, the public assumes there is funding for overhead and maintenance,” explained Kathryn Beilke, pastor of the church. “The truth is that we are a very small congregation and one of our core principles is that we welcome everyone. That often includes people without the means to support such a massive undertaking. We realize we have a duty to the city of Hudson to ensure that this historic treasure doesn’t
deteriorate. But, we can’t do it alone.”
Questions should be directed to Mr. Forman at email@example.com. Those who wish to donate can do so at www.savethebuilding.org.