We seek $15.5 million to restore and sustain this historic church for future generations.
Erected in 1875 in the Gothic Revival style, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is built of Belleville brownstone, a fashionable building stone in 19th-century New York. Acquired from quarries in northern New Jersey, brownstone was the material selected not only for the formidable walls of the Sanctuary, but also for the ornamental carvings that adorn its upper reaches.
But what makes our church home distinctive also presents challenges. Brownstone is inherently fragile. When carved and exposed to the elements, brownstone is subject to moisture saturation, expansion and contraction, which can lead to cracks, breaks and surface loss. The most vulnerable areas of the brownstone are the decorative surfaces—the hand-carved florals and stately colonnettes that give the church its unique architectural character.
Though built of sturdier stuff (cast stone and brick veneer over a steel frame), the Church House is showing signs of age as well. Expansion and contraction of the large cast stones have created pressure on the masonry joints, leading to spalls, or breaks in the stone. Moisture penetration and corrosion of the substrate steel have led to deep surface cracking and an accelerating cycle of deterioration.
Throughout our history, we have mitigated these natural deteriorations with repairs and restoration projects. Having learned from this history, and with new advances in restoration, the repairs we make now should prolong the cycle of maintenance and safeguard our church home far into the future.
In addition to restoring the exterior of the Sanctuary and Church House, this campaign will provide for much-needed renovations to the interior as well.
Kirkland Chapel, built in 1925, has many areas in need of renovation. Cracks and separations in the north- and west-facing stained glass windows will be repaired, while the windows themselves will be thoroughly cleaned and backlit to restore them to their original beauty. We also will restore the Chapel floor, address water damage along the upper walls, repair the woodwork, and invest in badly needed upgrades to the lighting and sound system.
The LaDane Williamson Christian Education Center, constructed in 2003, is home to a vibrant Sunday School and an expanding youth ministry. To accommodate growing numbers of youth, a movable dividing wall will be installed between two classrooms. This will enable large groups to gather for presentations and special programs, and then break into smaller
groups. This simple but important enhancement will help us to better engage young people and to sustain our growth for years to come.
Throughout the Sanctuary and Church House, we will upgrade our communication systems and invest in the hardware and software necessary for livestreaming our services. This will enable us to better serve our remote and homebound members, even as we invite the world to share in our worship.
Finally, we will transform the rooftop space on the seventh floor to accommodate fellowship events, community group meetings and other activities. With outdoor space at a premium in Manhattan, our renovated rooftop will not only enrich our congregational life, but provide a new source of rental income as well.
Throughout our history, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church has been one of the most respected venues for sacred music in New York City. More important than the renown it brings, however, is the spiritual enrichment our music ministry offers to the congregation. This campaign will provide for vital enhancements to our music ministry.
Repairs to the Sanctuary Organ
In service for more than half a century, our magnificent Austin organ now needs a new console, as well as significant mechanical, electronic, and tonal repairs and upgrades, to keep it performing at its best.
A Renovated Choir Loft
Because worship in the 19th century was very different from worship today, the church was not designed to accommodate a large choir. By reconfiguring the floor space and upgrading the lighting and acoustics of the choir loft, we will enhance the sound of the choir, and create space for additional instrumentalists for worship and concerts.
Digital Acoustics in the Sanctuary
The installation of a state-of-the-art sound system will revolutionize worship in the Sanctuary. The new sound system will allow worshippers to experience the full richness of the choir and organ, and to take in Scripture and the spoken word as never before.
Together with the Word, music has the ability to quicken the heart and soothe the soul. These improvements will ensure that our music ministry is equipped to enrich the worship experience at FAPC for generations.
FAPC will establish a facilities fund for sustainable care of our Sanctuary and Church House.
FAPC is fortunate to have achieved a balanced budget, ensuring that our ministries and programs have the resources they need to serve a growing congregation. But unexpected capital expenses (elevator repairs, for example) pose a frequent and costly challenge to our financial stability.
A designated facilities fund will set resources aside to cover unforeseen capital expenses. With this fund in place, we will be able to address urgent projects without compromising our ongoing ministries and programs, and without deferring required maintenance in any part of our facilities.
Keeping our maintenance program on schedule also will help us avoid more costly repairs down the road.