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Overview

Throughout its lengthy history, the parishioners of St. John's Church have been good stewards of their inheritance. In the wake of the fire of 2001, the congregation was determined to carry on as a vital faith community while also committing themselves to restoring the building that has been a steadfast refuge in their lives. It is in the restoration of their church building that the congregation of this new millennium will make its mark on the on-going march of centuries that has been the life of this church. Choosing to be protecting and preserving stewards of the legacy they have inherited, this spiritual community makes its contribution to not only this church and the town, but also to a nation.

Restoration of St. John's Church is projected to cost $6.7 million ($4.3 million USD). In December 2001, over 90% of the congregation voted in favor of restoration, and faced the enormous challenge of preserving this treasured National Heritage Site for future generations. The 'footprint' of the building survived the fire virtually unchanged, as did the walls of the nave, north and south aisles, and the entry vestibule. Balcony and ground floor pews, although water-damaged, still provide a sense of community or place.

Emergency site stabilization began immediately to protect the remaining fabric and to make the site a safe work environment. Volunteers and staff collected and catalogued damaged elements for possible reuse or as models for restoration work. Cinders and material of no recoverable value were removed. By the end of February 2002, the building was encased in a specially designed emergency cover to arrest further damage and to provide a sheltered work place until the building could be made weather-tight. All moveable furniture, plaques, and memorabilia were removed for storage and possible restoration. Within three months of the fire, the Restoration Committee had hired a Project Manager and a Design Team to prepare cost estimates and a plan for the potential restoration of this renowned historic site.

The project consists of three primary phases. The first involved restoring the exterior shell, stained glass windows, the bell tower and bells. The cost to complete Phase I was 3.4 million and was completed in December 2003. The second, and primarily interior, restoration phase (Phase II) is expected to cost $2.3 million and to be completed in October 2004. The final phase will include installing the organ and furniture, with a cost of $1 million and completion date late in 2005, for a total projected expense budget of $6.7 million.

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