Historic church to close due to safety concerns - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Historic church to close due to safety concerns

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This Barkhamsted church is set to close due to safety concerns (WFSB) This Barkhamsted church is set to close due to safety concerns (WFSB)

A church in Barkhamsted will hold its final service this Sunday.

The First Congregational Church is almost as old as the town itself and is no longer structurally sound.

The church was founded in 1781, and the town was established in 1779.

“It’s God’s place out here, it’s so gorgeous,” said Rev. Susan Elizabeth Wyman, of the First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted.

The church itself was built between 1843 and 1845, but it’s still active and has about 40 parishioners.

“It’s a church, it was built by people committed to God. It was people who were following the word of Christ,” said Wyman, who comes from a family of ministers.

She moved to Barkhamsted in 1982 and has been co-pastoring with her husband at the church for the past three years, but there have been issues with the building in recent years.

“We noticed that there was a leak coming in so we decided to check the structure,” Wyman said.

Engineers say the church is unsafe with a crack growing in the ceiling. The rafters are also splitting and pulling apart.

“What they think will happen if we have a really high wind or if there’s a natural disaster that the church will collapse toward the pulpit,” Wyman said.

It’s been a measure of faith that it hasn’t already, so they’ve started clearing out bibles and pew cushions.

“We will leave the church for a time being but we’ll be coming back because we anticipate getting funding for this and if we don’t we will find it somehow,” Wyman said.

It’s estimated it will cost around $150,000 to make the repairs and the church has applied for two grants from the state. 

In the meanwhile, parishioners will vote to temporarily practice their faith at the Barkhamsted Senior Center or the community hall at the new town garage.

The last service takes place on Old Home Day, where a historical tour of the area will take place.

“The last service is this Sunday, it is not closing permanently because we are Congregationalists and we don’t say no,” Wyman said.

The last service will be held outside the front of the church Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. Followed by a pot luck at 11 a.m. All donations are welcome.

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