Wow! What a week! In spite of the threat of Covid19, work at Calvary has been happening at a frantic pace. Here’s the latest news for the week of March 13 – 20. (Thank you to Peter S for organizing this information which has been a big help to me)
The week started out with Jim F working his magic as he managed to get Central Hudson to come and reconnect the electricity. Up until then we were working with temporary power provided by the work of American Eagle run off the temporary lighting set up outside the week before with the help of John and Jack C.
On Friday, March 13, Belfor Restoration was on site to install heavy duty extension cords and set up air filters, dehumidifiers and temporary lights inside so the space would be safer to begin the arduous task of the clean up.. That evening, the Fire Committee met at Union Presbyterian Church to catch up, consider options and make plans for moving ahead.
Saturday, in the midst of the debris of Fellowship hall Roy P, Carol L and Sue Y worked to salvage pieces of the stained glass window that was on the stage. There have been rumors about this window being a Tiffany but based on records and an inspection of the remnants of the glass and lead, it is more likely that this window was the creation of John LaForge or Donald McDonald. This window was originally installed in the Calvary Presbyterian Church located on Liberty Street. When First Presbyterian and Calvary joined congregations, the window was moved to what was its locaton in fellowship hall. This would have been in the mid 1900s. The window was most likely created in the late 1890s to the early 1900s. What remains of the window has been put in wooden trays for storage but is completely destroyed from the intense heat and cannot be restored.
Our Sunday Morning service on March 15th was attended by 4 people worshiping at Best Temple. Damian D worked with Pastor J to use Facebook to livestream the service so it could be viewed live by members and friends of Calvary . The service included a prelude of singing and piano by Pastor J . He then shared an inspirational message. Afterwards those present joined in prayer for our community and the world. The video has been added to our YouTube page. It is available there and on our website for folks to continue to worship along with it and continue to be an outreach to our faith community.
On Monday, an inventory firm was on site counting and logging all of the contents in the building lost as a result of the fire. Jim and Helen F assisted in this task to assure everything was being reported to the insurance company.
Tuesday, March 17, Befor Restoration under the direction of Geoff arrived, set up 2 large dumpsters and a truck and began removing the soggy debris from Fellowship Hall. This work continued through out the day on Wednesday when a larger crew from Belfor arrived. They began removing furniture for cleaning or disposal. Two and a half 30 yard dumpsters were filled and removed that day. Jim F reported that a neighborhood church was able to salvage much needed folding chairs and tables (covered for us under the insurance) before they were thrown into the dumpster. Jim states “They were very grateful – I guess blessings come in all sizes.”
Also on Wednesday, Luke P, John C and Sue Y met with Odell, the insurance company adjuster for the musical instruments. They looked at the 3 pianos first. The one in the basement suffered water damage, the one in fellowship hall, as you can see from the pictures, is toast (sorry had to say that) but the grand piano in the sanctuary is in good shape, just will need cleaning from smoke damage. The group then went to the organ loft to examine the Skinner Organ. Odell checked out the great, the swell and the console and the bellows in the tower and has determined the the entire organ will need to be completely cleaned, inside and out. The fire committee has already been working with Foley Baker, the company who has been working on the organ over the years and have gotten their estimate for the work. We are awaiting Odell’s final report which he will be submitting to the insurance company. The fire committee will be getting competitive bids for the required work based on this report from other qualified organ companies. It was a great discussion, with Luke P and expert on our Skinner and other instruments of similar design and John C with his analytical engineering mind, Odell knows we are aware of what we have and that we want to protect it.
On Thursday, three more dumpsters of smoked debris were removed as the interior walls of Fellowship Hall were dismantled. Peter S and I met with David of Lamb Stained Glass for them to provide a quote for cleaning of our stained glass windows and to determine a value of the window that was on the stage. We also checked the back side of the rose window (the Martha and Mary window) and found it to be in excellent shape. This is amazing because the “outside” of this window in boxed in on the 2nd floor of fellowship hall and could have easily been smoke or heat damaged from the fire. David commented that this is a beautiful window and probably was created in England.
Started on Thursday and continued on Friday was the erection of scaffolding in the sanctuary. This will allow workers access to the highest points of the building for cleaning and painting. The clearstory stained glass windows will be cleaned while this scaffolding is up.
By Friday afternoon, fellowship hall has been stripped to the cinderblock walls. Work will continue next week to gut the second floor, leaving only the restrooms untouched. The basement which has water damage is also slated for work on the wall between the kitchen and the large school room.
One of the most exciting moments for me (Sue Y) this week was discovering that the Christmas bell survived the fire. When I was getting ready to leave church this morning I happened to notice that the workers were opening up the area over our handicapped bathrooms. Realizing that the Christmas bell had been stored there I asked Geoff of Belfor what happened to the bell that had been stored there. I completely expected it to be a lump of melted PVC and fabric soot. You can imagine my shock when he told me that it was in the sanctuary on the pews. Sure enough there it was. The cover was a bit smudged but the bell was intact within. All it will take is laundering the fabric and some new PVC and it will be as good as new.
A lot has happened in the past week. If you have a chance feel free to stop by the church and see the work for yourself. For those who cannot make it I have included the pictures so you can more understand what is happening.