Family Church to get new steeple this week

Family Church Fredonia is pictured in April. The church will be getting a new steeple Wednesday, continuing its recovery from a May 2018 fire.

Progress has continued at Family Church Fredonia following the May 4, 2018 fire, and Wednesday will bring a significant addition to the building. At approximately 8 a.m., contractors will be installing the new steeple atop the tower, one of the final steps in the restoration process.

“What’s up there now is basically the clock tower piece,” Associate Pastor Scott Wise told the OBSERVER. “That’s all stick-built, framed-in wood. We’ve got the wrap, which has vinyl siding on that because it’s long-lasting and low-maintenance.”

Wise explained that the steeple, which will be installed in three parts, is different from the steeple that was on the building before the fire. “This new steeple pays homage to the original steeple when the church was built in 1853,” Wise explained. “That was more of a spire, really, and was removed in the late 1880s prior to the village clock. This new steeple is both historic and very modern. The unit is a fiberglass piece, and the whole unit weighs less than 2,000 pounds. It’s much better for the overall building structure, unlike the old steeple, which was very heavy.”

Wise is hoping for warm, sunny weather on Wednesday so that the installation can be completed in one day. Church Street will be closed for a portion of the day due to the installation, and Wise thanks all for their understanding and patience. A potluck dinner for church members and attendees is planned to take place in Barker Common at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in celebration of the new steeple and overall progress of the restoration.

“Overall, we’re a little behind where we thought we’d be, but that happens with any project,” Wise told the OBSERVER. “It was a wet, cold spring, which didn’t help. But we’d rather wait a few weeks and have the work done right, rather than rush through and have to fix it later. We’re not impatient. A lot of delays were also related to insurance and working out all the bids.”

The new clock will be installed in the coming weeks, though no date has been set. Wise and Family Church members are looking forward to returning to their Church Street home some time in August. Currently, services are being held at 45 Lakeview Avenue in Fredonia, the church’s original home before the purchase of the Church Street building in 2015.

“I’m here almost every day, walking around and seeing the progress. It’s such an awesome process to be a part of,” said Wise. “It’s an honor to be involved with restoring this historic structure. This new steeple pays homage to the past, but is also an investment in the future.”

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