It wasn’t a typical Wednesday in Killingly. A church community celebrated a day that was three centuries in the making, and their pastor staged a “Steeple Stay” at the same time.
Rev. Jonathan Chapman, of Westfield Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Killingly set up shop in the steeple on the congregation’s 301st birthday.
The sit-in was help to raise awareness and money.
The church needs a total of $800,000 for some much-needed repair work and so far they’ve raised about half.
"These are real people here today, serving their community and faithful - people of faith and even people who are not members of this parish, of course, all coming together to do something good in our community,” said Gary Osbrey, of WINY Radio.
The goal of the Steeple Stay was to raise $32,000 in one day for the building that has stood watch over the town since 1855.
When something is that old, it’ll show its age, including a leaky roof, peeling paint, a lack of access for the handicapped, and that’s just the beginning.
"People don't understand the scope of this project, it's an enormous building, it was built in the 1850's, the mills had come to town, there was money and wealth and they wanted to show that off so they built this opulent, huge building,” Chapman said.
All these years later, they want to make sure it’s in the community for centuries to come, but nobody imagined how the community would rally during the Steeple Stay, reaching their goal, and then some.
"This church - I've been a member for 22 years - is awesome, gives back to the community and our pastor is the absolute best,” said Sherri Pasco, of Killingly.
"If there's one thing that's clear to us, it's that we are in it together - into this restoration effort, into caring for our community, together, and that's really the gift here,” Chapman said.
They received more than $50,000 on Wednesday, but they still need about $300,000 more to cover everything.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.