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Fire Recovery Committee Update

The Fire Recovery Committee, formed by the Church Council to oversee the restoration of the church, hosted a meeting after church on Sunday, November 20 to update the congregation. Moderator Amy Hiestand provided background information about the membership and responsibilities of the committee and Moe Wright and Roger Bash provided details. Amy also announced that Milton Fujii had agreed to chair the committee.

Scaffolding now fills the Sanctuary so that repairs to the plaster ceiling can begin. Only parts of the ceiling will need to be repaired. Damage to the Sanctuary roof and the space between the roof and the ceiling will be challenging to repair because of the structure of that part of the building. Repainting, refinishing, carpeting and returning the pews will follow structural repair. It is estimated that the Sanctuary will be available for use in late spring or early summer. Although a full assessment of the organ will come later, it seems from initial inspection that it was not damaged.

The loss of office space in Pilgrim Hall has meant that alternative space will be needed for staff, the costs of which are covered by insurance. After investigating office spaces in other locations, staff, the Church Council and members of the Fire Recovery Committee determined that renovating Durant House to create office space would be the wisest choice. Roger Bash will oversee the renovation which should begin early in the year after a design and permitting process and will likely take a few months. The two tenants in Durant House have agreed to move and Amare and his family will not be affected by the renovation (except having to deal with the noise involved). A smaller meeting room (for up to twelve) and a kitchen will still be available on the lower floor.

The rebuilding of Pilgrim Hall will be a longer term process. Currently plans are underway to clean out the damage from the fire so that the area is safe for engineering inspections. The structural soundness of what is left of the space is yet to be determined. The Fire Recovery Committee, with input from the Long Range Planning Committee and Church Council, will be making a recommendation in the next month or so to form a “Blue Sky” committee that will help envision the future of Pilgrim Hall with congregational input.