Hello from the fire committee, the session and trustees!
This is a screenshot of our join meeting via zoom this past Saturday. It is amazing that in spite of the fire and virus quarantine, Calvary continues to move forward. This is the second joint meeting of the entire group and the fire committee has had many zoom meeting over the weeks since we have been hold up at home. Though these are difficult times the technology available allows us to keep in touch and continue to work. Once again I suggest you use it to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. There are many choices, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom … please don’t let the quarantine keep you alone and lonely.
The fire committee continues its work to get the insurance company on board with the necessary restoration of the Skinner Organ. Through the excellent communication skills of Luke P and Peter S we were able to get the company to send out a new appraiser and organ expert, Stephen J Russell of the Russell Organ Co of Chester, VT. On Thursday, Peter, Luke and I had a good, long and thorough visit with Stephen. He had an opinion much closer to our expectations than the original submitted by Art Conservation/Odell. He poked into the console, looked at the pipes as much as he could and had the extra benefit of being able to look down on the pipes from the scaffolding. We also visited the blower bellows which he indicated the leather in them would need to be replaced. This is something that no one else has mentioned. He was completely in agreement with what we believe needs to be done to get our instrument back to pre-fire condition. (Odell also stated this when he was at the church but then changed his statements completely when he reported to the insurance company. I was smart this time and recorded our conversations with Stephen! We have no reason to believe Stephen will change like Odell did but at least this time we have proof of his statements.) His report will be sent to the insurance company and with any luck we will be able to get Foley Baker (our organ company) started on the dismantling of the instrument for transfer to their facility for the complete cleaning and restoration. Peter has covered the organ console in plastic sheeting in the meanwhile to help protect it from further dust collection. Here are some photo taken during the visit.
A deposit has been sent and received by Schulmerich Handbell company and we are now on the waiting list for our bells to be cleaned and restored from any smoke damage. It is unclear when the bells will be completed, but we can’t have rehearsals for some time at this point, based on the condition of the sanctuary and the restrictions the Covid virus has caused. (It would be a bit difficulty to keep the choir together with 6 feet between the ringers. There are 9 of us – that would mean we would be taking up 54 feet of space!). I will be contacting Malmark Company next week to arrange for the cleaning of our choir chimes and let you know how that goes.
Keep our Facebook Live Sunday Service at 9 am on Sunday with Zoom fellowship to follow. Meanwhile our special music for the Memorial Day Weekend is the Calvary Ringers playing the National Anthem. This was recorded at a Renegades Baseball game last year. On YouTube here, or on the website here.
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend,
While NYS PAUSE keeps Belfor Restoration from returning to work in the building, American Eagle has been working hard to make sense of the current rats nest that was our electrical service. The pictures below were taken in the stair well that goes to the basement of the sanctuary. The first pictures show the wires that were in the old set up that still used fuses. The following pictures show the new circuit breaker boxes, the larger one is what was installed earlier this year when some of the system was upgraded. The smaller box will be where the wires from the rats nest will be installed. This is the first step in a number of electrical service upgrades that will be completed in the weeks to come.
Other work still continues as the fire committee works with the insurance company to get a fair and correct settlement on the claim for the organ restoration. We have 2 estimates for the work that are significanlty more than the insurance company’s appraiser’s evaluation, so the company has hired another organ expert to meet with us to provide more information. Being the “tenacious christians” that we are, the fire committee will continue to work (i.e. fight) to get a settlement that is correct. Once again, we want to thank Luke P for his expertise and ability to well express the true value of the instrument and the need to get it back to the condition it was before the fire.
As you know, I brought the handbells and chimes to my home on the day of the fire. Belfor has returned the cases after treating them for the smoke damage and I have contacted Schulmerich Handbells to see about scheduling the clean up that is necessary for the bells. They are closed for the quarantine but we will be sending them a deposit of half so we will be on their waiting list for when they return to work. I will be contacting Malmakr this week to schedule cleaning up of the chimes.
Once again because of NYS PAUSE there is not much to report as far as progress at Calvary. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Governor Cuomo will let contractors go back to work this week. If so cleaning in the sanctuary will resume.
Jim F wrote the following earlier this week:
Greeting All – Good news. Electricians from American Eagle Electric, located on Renwick St. in Newburgh, will begin replacing wiring and lighting in our sanctuary tomorrow morning. Some of the wiring is more than 75 years old and is frayed in some locations. Several fuse panels will be combined into a single circuit breaker panel The lighting, including the chandeliers, will be upgraded to energy efficient LEDs. We are able to do these upgrades because of the scaffolding that has been erected to allow for the cleaning and the painting of the sanctuary ceilings, rafters and walls. – With much gratitude – Jim
Once again, not much to report this week. The fire committee continue to gather estimates and proposals for the insurance company to keep the restoration process moving forward as much as possible. Yesterday, the session, trustees and fire committee held a joint meeting via Zoom to discuss the progress and update the boards on the current status and progress. We are hoping Belfor can return and start work again in 2 weeks, but meanwhile work on updating the electrical service in the sanctuary will start and move forward. Some of this work is not going to be included in our insurance claim but makes sense to do while the scaffolding is installed, reducing significantly the cost of the work.
Ken M was kind enough to scan and provide programs from the Calvary celebrations of the 100th and the 150th Anniversaries of the “Dedication of Calvary Presbyterian Church “ I have not had a chance to print these out and read them but there is a lot of history in the documents. We are in the process of uploading the documents to our google docs files and will post a link here when available (If you receive our friends update emails, check the email sent out on 5-1-20 for a temporary link for this download – otherwise bookmark this page and check back later)
Our special music of the week is “Grace” sung by the Calvary Singers at the Habitat for Humanity Talent Show 2018. Click here to view.
The service will be live streaming at 9 AM (or a few minutes after) on our FaceBook page and later in the day on the YouTube Channel and on the website. Following the service Noa and Anne will host a Zoom fellowship hour (bring your own coffee!). The info can’t per posted here to avoid Zoom Bombing – so contact me if you need the info.
A day late and a dollar short! Sorry I did not get a chance to write to you all yesterday, but the day was over before I realized it. There is not a lot to report for the past week. Work at Calvary has been put on hold because of NYS PAUSE, but the fire committee continues to work for the congregation and friends of Calvary by working with American Eagle to get estimates for electrical upgrades and replacement work, with Lamb Studios and North Eastern Studios to get an accurate replacement value for the Ward window and with the insurance company to be sure our settlement is far and accurate.
Planning is in the works for a joint meeting of the Session, Trustees and Fire committee sometime this next week. The meeting will be taking place over Zoom so we can stay safe in our homes. The fire committee meetings have been held over Zoom for the past number of weeks and it has been wonderful to be able to see and communicate with the other members of the committee. Based on my experience with this, I strongly suggest you connect with others in your lives that you are missing using Skype, FaceTime or the like to help make a personal connection that just is not there through text, email or even phone calls. We are all suffering through this but we must be thankful that we can connected through technology. Just imaging how this would have been 100 years ago during the pandemic at that time. I know it is hard to find something to be thankful for right now but it really could be worse.
As far as the continued life of Calvary, you should have received a notification for Pastor J regarding the starting of a second Bible Study group. Meanwhile please remember to join Pastor J tomorrow at 9 am for the Sunday Morning Worship Service on FaceBook live and afterwards on our YouTube channel and our website.
Our special music this week is available on our website and our YouTube channel and is our wonderful musician Joe B on piano with Hallelujah. He posted this on FaceBook for Easter and.I was able to download it and add it our sites. Enjoy!
Scroll to the bottom for pictures taken 4-14-20
Hope this email finds you all healthy and safe, and if not my prayers go out to you for a speedy recovery.
This week work at Calvary has been put on hold by NYS PAUSE. Belfor has completed the entire gutting of fellowship hall from top to bottom. They have scaffolding throughout the sanctuary but the hoped for exemption to allow them to continue working to clean the ceiling area has not materialized. After visiting the building daily and seeing the full, active crew working so hard to move forward, when I went on Tuesday morning it was a lonely place. I will be posting photos on the website and video on YouTube showing how complete the clean up has been and just how deserted it feels tomorrow and will send links when they are uploaded.
Though the Belfor work has been put on hold, work for the fire committee continues. A number of us met with Charlie of American Eagle Electric on Tuesday morning and climbed back up to the dance floor. There we had a very informative conversation about required quotes for necessary rewiring of the electrical work in that area, including upgrading our light fixtures to use LED bulbs, both the flood lights on the sides and the chandeliers. John C, our super intelligent engineer, requested a quote on adding large fans to the ceiling that would break up the layers of temperatures that are present normally in our sanctuary. We all know hot air rises so we have been paying to keep the upper reaches of our building hot while we have to wear sweaters and jackets In the pews. These fans will break up this unequal heating and help keep the entire room equally warm. The end result will be a much more comfortable sanctuary and a savings on our heating bills. Seems like a win/win idea to me.
American Electric has continued working to permanently wire outdoor lighting to replace the temporary, generator run lighting that was installed after the fire as a security measure. Up until now John C and Damian D have been going to the church every evening and morning to turn on and off the temporary lighting. The new lighting will be on a timer and be automatic.
The committee has also continued to research the organ restoration and work with Foley Baker and the insurance company to be sure we get a fair settlement. The obvious goal here is to get our organ back up and working as it was before the fire. If you want to know more about our wonderful instrument, I strongly suggest you talk to Luke P. He is an expert on the Skinner Organ and has been invaluable in getting the correct information as we work on this portion of our claim.
We have also gotten 2 estimates on the value of the melted stained glass window (the Ward Window). One of the companies that were contacted found a lot of unknown information which I want to share with you. The window is not a Tiffany but was created Gorham Studios. Click here for a PDF file of the information provided by Julie Sloan, Consultant on Stained Glass. It is an interesting read.
We are also working to get a copy of the inventory completed by the insurance company but that has not yet arrived.
So even though work within the building has come to a halt, working to keep our claim moving forward has not. The fire committee continues to do our best to get the Calvary building back to where we can meet again, once we are allowed to meet.
Now looking forward. Sunday’s special music will be Ain’t Got Time To Die, sung by the Calvary Singers at the Habitat for Humanity Talent show in 2018 and videoed by Wendy S. This will be available on our YouTube channel tomorrow after noon and remain there afterwards. So as last week be sure to visit and listen before or after Pastor J’s service Sunday at 9am on our Facebook page.
And don’t forget to come to Worship Service at 9AM on the Facebook page. Last week we had some technical difficulties but hoping all goes smoothly this week.
Wednesday Bible Study continues – 12:30 via zoom. Contact Peter S for more info.
In addition to adding a second Bible Study the Session and the Fire Committee are discussing how to provide opportunities for “virtual” coffee hour or other times of conversation to help keep us connected. Watch for opportunities. In fact, Peter S sent the following message regarding Bible Study earlier today. I am repeating it here in case you missed it.
If you are interested in joining a Bible Study of Calvary folks please respond to me, Peter Surgenor, or Rev. Lewis. We will work to find a time that will fit as many schedules as possible. We use a Zoom.us meeting as a platform – it is possible to join by video call or simply using your phone alone.
The Wednesday Bible Study has been going on so long and has reached a level of intimacy that new members are not being added at this time.
We hope that you have been reading Sue Young’s weekly updates about the church building (how ironic that while the building is not available to us we are not available to use the building! ). Work has stopped in response to the Governor’s Covid 19 safety order. In this hiatus time the Fire Committee continues to work to think ahead and take advantage of options. Watch for opportunities to voice your thoughts about next steps for Calvary Presbyterian Church.
Eastertide Greetings. May God be with you.
Rev. Peter S
Love and hugs to you all. Hope to virtually see you Sunday at the service.
I hope this Good Friday finds you and all of your family and friends near and far, healthy and happy. Prayers go out to everyone that is sick with Covid19 for a quick and lasting recovery.
Here is your update for the week – sorry as I reread this it appears to be random thoughts. Guess I am having a problem concentrating today.
The article mentioned in last week’s update appeared in the Times Harold Record and on their website here and their pictures are here. I told Lana, the reporter, the story of the “Christmas bell that could” and she is going to cover that story in a different section in the future. I am trusting those eagle-eyed persons that read the paper will update us when they see that article.
I visited last on Wednesday. Videos are on the YouTube channel and pics are below, scroll down.
Belfor has completed the demolition of fellowship hall. Jim F visited this morning on his usual mail run to find the building completely empty of workers. This is the first work day for this to happen since the fire on March 5th, leaving the building sad and lonely. Who would have thought only about 6 weeks ago that we would not be meeting in our sanctuary and fellowship hall to celebrate this Holy Season? So many changes in such as short time. But there are good things to come. It is unclear as of yet if Belfor will be able to return next week to start the cleaning of the sanctuary ceiling and upper walls as this will be the next plans for their work. This depends on the current New York State PAUSE requirements. But rest assured Geoff of Belfor will do all that he can to keep moving forward. Meanwhile the committee is gathering proposals for restoration of the organ, cleaning of the stained glass and other work that need to be completed.
During the week, Charlie of CDR Alarm System has all been hard at work to complete the connections for our wired and permanent alarm system. It is repaired and working. American Eagle Electricians were at the location when I was there Wednesday working to make our outdoor lighting of the building a permanent feature and the temporary lighting with generators that was installed as a security measure a couple of days after the fire will soon be removed. So our beautiful church will continue to be a beacon in the neighborhood both day and night.
Jim F has reported that the mail box at the church, through the mail slot in the South Street door has been reinstalled and it is now safe to deposit envelopes there. He will be recovering the mail each morning. So if you want to drop off your tithe in your offering envelope, it will be safely delivered to Helen.
Please join Pastor J at 9am Sunday for Easter Service via FaceBook live. And afterwards, it will be available here on the website and our YouTube channel.
There will be a Virtual Handbell Performance available on our YouTube channel tomorrow afternoon as our special music for Easter. It is a photo montage of some of my photography set to a recording of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, preformed by the Calvary Ringers a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy it. I will send an announcement with a link once it is uploaded, It is about 5 minutes long so if you want to enjoy it as a prelude to tomorrow’s service be sure to visit is early enough so you don’t miss the service at 9 am.
Bible Study meets 12:30 pm on Wednesdays – via Zoom. Contact me, Damian D or Pastor J for info to access. (Who know? zoom-bombing is a thing so we can’t broadcast the connection info for this)
I hope everyone has a safe and healthy Easter. Be sure to virtually visit with those that you can’t be together with. We are all isolated and need the connections.
(Scroll down to see photos)
Not much to report this week. Asbestos removal took place from Saturday through Wednesday. Belfor Restoration returned in full force in spite of the Covid19 quarantine. Their work fits one of the categories that is allowed to continue working. This is great for their workers because they don’t suffer lost wages and we really gain because they continue to make dramatic advancement in the clean up after the fire. It is also great for the Calvary family because it gets us closer to the day that our church building will be whole again. They are primarily focusing their efforts in the clean up of the basement. When I visited yesterday there was a constant flow of workers going in and out of the basement door removing the damage caused by water.
Yesterday I met with Kelly, a photographer of the Times Herald Record to take photos for Lana, the reporter who covered the fire back on March 5th. Kris, my daughter and I showed her around the building pointing out the major changes in the building. Then we went to the sanctuary with the goal of going up the scaffolding steps to the “dance floor”. Kris made it up about 3 steps and she was out. Kelly made it up to the first platform before her fear of heights kicked in. But I made it to the top!!! Exhilarating. I was able to take some photos while there to share with the Record and to post on the website. It is quite a different view of the organ than I have even seen. And I got to check out the stained glass window way up over the pulpit. I am happy to report that the window is not is as bad shape as it looks from the floor. It is just quite dirty. In the afternoon I did a phone interview with Lana and she will be doing a follow up article telling the good news of our progress. I will post the link to the story when it appears.
John C also visited the church this week and shared videos, including on the dance floor. Visit the YouTube page to see his great videography. Thanks John, for sharing your work.
Sunday it will be a month since the fire at Calvary and so much has happened since then. Remember, the days when we used to get together and greet each other with a hug? Yep – that was only a month ago, but it seems so much longer. I hope you are all surviving these challenging and often lonely times. I encourage you to think of those that you care about or have touched your life in any way and reach out to them. We all need to be in contact, even though we can’t physically get close.
Looking for something to do while you are staying home? Pastor J is resuming the Wednesday Bible Study via zoom. Peter S has provided the following instructions to join in. Start time is 12:30 so be sure to download the software early, it takes a few minutes to set it up. You don’t want to be late. (Don’t worry this is very easy to do.). This will be a great use of technology and provide an interactive Bible Study. You don’t have any excuse now, it’s not like you have to go to work (lol).
Scripture for April 1, 2020. Mark 10-1-16
Once you receive the information, click the link or copy and paste into a browser window . This will take you to Zoom where you will need to download their software, so do that well before the meeting. At meeting time (12:30pm or a few minutes before) click on the link again and it will take you to the meeting.
You can also call in at and take part on your phone.
Here are some photos showing the progress this week. To see videos with more coverage visit our YouTube Channel. I have uploaded videos every day showing the progress. I am sure you will be amazed. Scroll down to read this week’s update.
Tuesday March 24, 2020
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020
I hope this update finds everyone health, happy and not to stir crazy! Even though many have been staying home and safe, the work at Calvary continues fast and furiously.
We started the week peacefully with Pastor J leading worship via Facebook Live with voice, keyboard, meditation and prayer with Cynthia L acting as technician and camera person. Tomorrow’s service will be streamed live through Facebook at 9 AM and afterwards will be posted on our YouTube channel and on our website. You can visit calvarypresbychurch.org for information to log on to Facebook live or to view the video afterwards (and see previous weeks’ services). Be sure to like the Calvary Facebook page to join in.
But then the pace was picked up when restoration at the church continued on Monday. In spite of the rapidly changing state rules regarding essential businesses and the closing down of those that are not, Belfor was able to continue their work. By Wednesday the busy crew had completely stripped the main room of Fellowship Hall to the cinderblock walls and steel beams. Work began upstairs and by Friday all of the walls and ceilings were removed leaving only the studs and the bathrooms. They also cleaned the basement in preparation for the necessary asbestos removal. This process started yesterday with the taping off to isolate the affected areas (kitchen floor and back corner ceiling) and today the asbestos clean up started. Be aware no one can go into the Fellowship Hall until this is completed on Wednesday or Thursday.
When I visited the church yesterday, the entire sanctuary was full of scaffolding, allowing workers access to the highest area in the space. All across the top section is a wooden floor that the workers put in to allow the crew to safely work. They call this the dance floor. Even with this in place 10 foot ladders will be required to reach the highest points for cleaning and painting. Geoff, the head of the Belfor crew, told the fire committee at our Zoom meeting this morning that there is about a ¾ inch layer of dust on the ceiling and beams which they will be cleaning before painting. As an allergy sufferer, I will truly appreciate this clean up! It is estimated that this scaffolding will be in place for two months during which time the Belfor crew will clean and paint and the crew from Lamb Studio will clear our stained glass windows. It is hoped that the organ restoration will begin shortly and coincide with this work
The fire committee continues to work with Geoff and the insurance company, submitting estimates for work by Lamb Studios for the stained glass cleaning, for Lime Electric to replace our lighting with LED technology and others. The proposed work to upgrade to LED will be subsidized by 50% by Central Hudson.
One more update completed this week is that CDR Alarm company has completed repairing our alarm system and we now have a fully functioning wired alarm system, covering all access areas and motion detection within the entire structure.
Looking forward, Geoff has been advised the construction services are no longer considered essential business but is hoping the he will be able to start work in the Sanctuary possibly as building cleaning and maintenance or construction for safety purposes. I may not have that exact but Geoff is looking for a loop hole to keep our progress moving forward.
My prayers go up for all of our Calvary friends and family that you are all happy and health.