Downstairs at St. Matthew’s to get facelift
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is about to undergo major renovations. As a result, the church’s thrift shop, as well as its meeting rooms on the lower level, will be closed for a period of six to eight weeks. Alternative locations for the facilities will be available during renovations.
According to the Rev. Kevin Lloyd, the church is in the midst of a capital campaign. The donations from parishioners will be used to pay for reshingling the roof over the main church, including work on the gutters and downspouts, and also for renovating the entire downstairs area of the church.
The downstairs work will include the removal and replacement of the old flooring, which dates back to the 1960s. A full asbestos abatement is also being undertaken as a part of the project. The downstairs will be painted, and new furnishings will be placed in the Sunday school rooms and thrift shop.
“St. Matthew’s did a renovation of the worship space back in 2003,” Lloyd said. “The next thing we needed to do was to renovate the downstairs area.”
Lloyd said that in addition to the Sunday school, the downstairs rooms are used for community gatherings for groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. “It’s a part of the church that is used by the community, so this should have a good impact not only on our parish, but on the community that uses the space.”
The goal of the capital campaign is approximately $300,000. So far just over $220,000 has been raised based on pledges from parishioners. Pledges are still being taken. The church also has applied for grant money from the Champlin Foundation.
Lloyd said that the money for the renovation comes primarily from parishioners, but when the process of taking pledges ends, the church will seek outside contributions from organizations that use the church facilities for meetings.
Work on the roof was scheduled to begin this week and will take about three weeks. The downstairs work is currently in the permitting process and will begin once the necessary permits are acquired. Lloyd anticipates that will be in mid-September. The work should take about two months.
The new Sunday school year begins on Sept. 16. The classes will take place in alternative spaces upstairs, including the parish library and the parish hall. The school will operate on a normal schedule, just in a different space. Community organizations will also be invited to use the alternative spaces.
“We are certainly glad that we’re able to allow our space to be used for community purposes,” Lloyd said. “A lot of community groups do use our space. We’ll certainly continue to be able to provide it. There may be some temporary limitations on that, but we want the community to continue to be able to use our space as they’re able and as the space allows.”
The thrift shop closed for business downstairs this week, but thrift shop manager Peter Hoagland is working to develop alternatives for customers as well as people who want to donate items to the shop. The obvious choice would be to move the sales outside, but that would require a permit, which Hoagland is looking into.
Hoagland said that donations will continue to be accepted during the renovations, but asked that people not bring large items like furniture, televisions or large appliances to the church at this time. Donations can be dropped off at tables that the church will set up outside on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. They can also be left at the top of the stairs that lead to the thrift shop. Receipts will be available as usual.
“We’re going to be outside at least sorting,” Hoagland said. “Because you can’t shut off the donation flow.” The outside sorting will begin Saturday.
While the 40-year-old thrift shop generates funds for the church through sales, items are also donated to individuals and organizations on an as-needed basis. As an example Hoagland cited an outreach program involving the Naval War College in which items such as warm clothing are donated or loaned to students to use during their stay.
Hoagland also said that sometimes teachers would come to the thrift shop to buy clothing for students in low-income districts who are inappropriately dressed for school. When the staff learns the purpose of their visit, the clothes are given to them.
“We appreciate the support we’ve had from the town in terms of donations and purchases,” Hoagland said. “We look forward to continuing to do that in the very near future.”
The annual St. Matthew’s parish picnic will take place on Sunday, Sept. 9. The worship service will take place under the church’s large beech tree at 10 a.m., followed by the picnic. All are welcome.