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Congregational church stablizes 'sagging,' awaits study

Updated 12:11 pm, Saturday, January 26, 2013

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  • Structural issues directly above the pulpit have caused officials of the First Congregational Church in New Milford to close the sanctuary until the problem has been resolved. November 2012 Photo: Norm Cummings
    Structural issues directly above the pulpit have caused officials of the First Congregational Church in New Milford to close the sanctuary until the problem has been resolved. November 2012 Photo: Norm Cummings

 

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A sagging beam in the attic of the First Congregational Church in New Milford has been stabilized.

The sanctuary in the iconic edifice along the Village Green was closed in early November on the advice of a civil engineer after the roof was found to be sagging in the area over the pulpit.

The Rev. Michael Moran said Tuesday engineers were on site to assure the structural supports put in place since November were installed properly. Work was recently finished.

Four steel pillars were installed below the sagging beam with a steel beam running across the ceiling, on top of the four pillars and under the sagging wooden beam, he said.

"A structural engineer will now do a complete study of the area," Rev. Moran said. "Within two weeks we should know what our next step is."

Sunday worship is taking place in the Marish Parish House auditorium and outside groups that use the church facility have also relocated to the parish house.

The church building was built along the Village Green in 1832. In 1839, a chapel was added to the east side of the building, according to the First Congregational Church website.

A complete remodeling was done to the sanctuary and fellowship hall in 1938. The church steeple was redone in 1947, with a general remodeling and refurbishing of the church conducted in 1966, according to the website.

Rob Burkhart, president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, said in November he was not surprised to learn of the sanctuary's structural issue.

Mr. Burkhart noted construction in the past generally was not done to the standards followed today. Many buildings were weakened when additions were added, he noted.

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