St. Matthew’s makeover
Last year St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church began a capital campaign aimed at raising funds for some much-needed repairs to the building and grounds. The first phase of the repairs consisted of renovations to the church’s lower level and reshingling the roof. It is now near completion.
According to the Rev. Kevin Lloyd, St. Matthew’s rector, the lower level of the building was reopened last month. The floor contains the church’s thrift shop, as well as rooms that host Sunday school and community groups like the Boy Scouts. Other groups like Alcoholics Anonymous usually meet in the parish hall, but sometimes it uses the downstairs area as well.
“It’s being used by a number of folks,” said Lloyd, “not just us on Sunday mornings.”
“We remarkably transformed that area down there,” Lloyd said.
The work to the lower level included a full asbestos abatement. The floor tiles in the area dated back to the 1960s when asbestos was a common component of tiles. All new flooring was in- stalled and new furnishings were added to the Sunday school area.
“We not only renovated the area,” said Lloyd, “we’ve redone the thrift shop so that it’s much more up to date.”
He says that the shop is now more user-friendly for the customers.
The goal of the church’s capital campaign was to raise $300,000. About $225,000 has been raised, all from parishioners. That money was used for the recently completed repairs. At this point, Lloyd said, the church is planning an outreach to the community. He wants to have vendors and groups that use the lower level to raise the balance of the money.
“We still have some work that we’re hoping to do outside,” he said. “We’re on the second tier of our priorities. We continue to invite contributions towards all of that work and we’re going to extend that to friends and vendors.”
Lloyd said that in the first quarter of 2013 the church will reach out to people beyond its membership to see if additional funds can be raised. Proceeds will go toward projects that the church still hopes to complete.
“We’ll reach out to folks that use the space and other community groups and organizations for whom St. Matthew’s plays a role in their world,” said Lloyd. “We’ll see if folks would like to contribute and help out the membership. Considering the economic context, we consider it a very successful campaign, even though we didn’t reach our goal with membership donations.”
According to Lloyd, there were two goals that came out of a feasibility study that the church undertook. The consultant who did the study presented the church with a “conservative goal” of $225,000. Then there was a “faith goal” of $300,000.
“We’ve reached our conservative goal, but if we’re able to get a little bit more toward that $300,000 goal, we’ll be able to do some more work outside,” he said.
According to Lloyd, the new funding will be used for a second phase of repairs that will focus on the outside of the church. He hopes to get at least part of the parking lot redone, including repaving, restriping and reconfiguring it. There are also some concrete areas on the outside of the building that need work. These include entryways and the handicap access ramp that leads into the church. Some repointing of the bricks on the building is also needed.
“We would really like to do some things that over time have become in need of repair work,” said Lloyd.
The St. Matthew’s thrift shop has returned to its regular schedule. Like before the renovations, the store is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Lloyd said the shop has been busy since it reopened.
“Having been closed for several months, it gave us a new appreciation for how much people appreciate the thrift shop,” he said. “We were getting phone calls on a regular basis asking us when we were going to reopen. So far, business has been very good since we reopened. People have given us great positive feedback on the work that we’ve done. That certainly is pleasing.”
Lloyd said that people come from all over to the thrift shop. He reported speaking to people who had driven from as far away as Connecticut, and that the people told him that they had been there on more than one occasion.
Lloyd said he encourages folks who haven’t seen the renovations to visit the shop. “Come check out our nicely renovated thrift shop,” he said. “I would also encourage folks to know that we have a space that the community can make use of. Now that we have these nicely renovated spaces, they’re even more user-friendly.”
Lloyd said that the church welcomes donations of clothing and other household items for the thrift shop. “But we much prefer that donations of items and clothing be brought on the days the shop is open, or during regular parish office hours,” he said. Office hours are Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Lloyd said that groups wishing to use the St. Matthew’s meeting space can call the parish office at 423-1762. This year St. Matthew’s will host the ecumenical Good Friday service that rotates annually among Jamestown’s three churches.