Programs geared to raise funds for church campaign
The parishioners of the First Congregational Church in New Milford will celebrate their church’s history in town while drawing attention to the preservation needs of its meetinghouse this month.
The events — ranging from scrapbooking to oral history sessions to an appraisal event —will coincide with the American Library Association’s Preservation Week, which runs April 22-28.
The programs, held in conjunction with the New Milford Public Library, will raise awareness of the church’s historic value while also raising funds for its “Raise the Roof Campaign,” to support major structural repairs to the roof.
“New Milford has been the beneficiary of a marvelous legacy,” said church member Leslie Schlemmer, citing the church’s steeple and meetinghouse that have served as an “iconic landmark” in town for 300 years.
“Now this heritage is under threat,” Schlemmer said. “Winter storms damaged the aging timbers overhead. Repairing the roof trusses and restoring the simple beauty of the meeting house will require an estimated $500,000.”
Funds will be used to repair the failing ceiling beam and restore the building’s structural integrity and remove the steel supports inside the sanctuary.
While the church focuses on preserving its structure, upcoming events will focus on how we preserve memories and keepsakes.
A scrapbooking workshop with Kathy Maher will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the parish house at the 36 Main St. church. The cost is $25.
Reservations are required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following day, Sunday, the focus will be on oral and written histories.
Local historian Chris Fisher will meet with members of the public to record individual’s personal memories and stories beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Taylor Room of the church.
“We talk to anyone and everyone,” Fisher said of his Connecticut Crossroad Project. “We’re trying to drill down into what this community is.”
“And we’d love to hear from people connected to the church,” Fisher said.
The library will offer a special program about book care and repair Monday at 2 p.m.
Attendees will learn tips on caring for books and making repairs to books in home collections. It is not a conservation workshop.
A unique appraisal event with Bernie McManus of Bernie McManus Appraisals and Mitchell Borenstein of Applebrook Auctions will be held April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church.
McManus and Borenstein will give verbal evaluations of family treasures.
McManus, former owner of the Woodbury House Antiques, has been a professional appraiser of antiques, fine arts, and old and rare books for more than 45 years.
Borenstein has been an auctioneer for almost 30 years, a vocation that began when he moved up from Manhattan to Washington.
Registration is required in advance by emailing email@example.com or visiting www.nmchurch.org.
On April 29, the church will play host to a church cookbook coffee hour.
Recipes made from church cookbooks from the past will be shared during the fellowship time following worship.
To wrap up the special week, a program, “Preserving the Past for the Future,” will be held April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the library.
Robert Burkhart, president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, will lead the discussion and presentation on past and future projects.
“The church is a part of the history and architecture that make our vibrant and beautiful downtown area,” Schlemmer said.