Our church, property buildings, and campus grounds, underwent some transformative improvements over the past five years, all in effort to maintain and revitalize our historic property for current and future generations.
Some of the improvements were cosmetic—painting, gardening, and new signage—to give us “curb appeal” or in our case, “church appeal”. Other improvements were functional—new sidewalks, air-conditioning upgrades and/or installations, audio/visual systems, kitchen/bathroom updates, roof repairs—to protect us and/or enhance our worship and ministry experiences. These efforts demonstrate our love for God and each other, regard for this special sacred worship space, and vitality as a parish.
One large and necessary improvement—the storm drainage system—not visible to the eye but critical to the stability of our 278 year old church structure, was completed in early September. This project, first proposed to the Vestry in 2016, resulted from a visible crack at the corner of our east-facing wall; and peeling paint on the church ceiling, in the bell-tower, and the west-facing wall.
Victorian Heritage (VH), the contractors and engineers who proved their structural knowledge and abilities with our east wall renovation in 2000, monitored the wall crack with a Telltale precision gauge in 2016. They also analyzed paint peels from the ceiling and Bell Tower for excessive moisture. The wall crack remained stable during the weekly monitoring for one year; however, VH’s structural engineer observed excessive rainwater pooling near the brick foundation and the building’s ancient wood beams. VH recommended a storm drainage system to divert rainwater away from the building. They also recommended a combination of roof modifications to help wick rain from the building.
At the time, the Vestry tabled the costly storm drainage recommendation and worked to make small and affordable fixes to divert water. A VH roofing contractor replaced or repaired roof shingles due to age and squirrel damage, created a roof lip, and cleaned gutters and leaders on the church and Vestry House. Another local contractor (Pat Lynch) won the bid on a smaller French drain system (near Hoopes Court and the new flagpole) and completed that project in 2018.
Despite these fixes, heavy rainfalls continued to debilitate the church structure. Our concern to maintain the structural integrity of the building grew. Due to the size and scope of the project, the Vestry reconnected with VH. They reevaluated the situation and recommended a storm water collection system including a 275 gallon concrete settling tank, a large 15’ x 25’ stone seepage bed, leaders and piping.
Our churchyard steward team of Mac Taylor, Joe Williams and Fr. John, used churchyard records to help determine the location for the new storm water collection system. Our churchyard contains many non-burial walkways. Trenched and excavated areas for this project were located within these walkways and did not disturb any existing graves or potential gravesites. Beyond that work, we received approval for the project from the Town of North East.
None of the aforementioned projects was funded by operating/pledge income thanks to the wise financial management of church investments, and a combination of generous gifts, grants, and volunteer work. The storm water collection system’s cost was $55,993.00. Monies to cover this expense came from a few different funds, including our Property Preservation Fund, All Saints Fund, and Coudon Fund, along with a generous anonymous memorial gift.
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Bruce England our Senior Warden.
Our Annual St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals is Sunday, October 3rd.
We will have one 9 AM Outdoor Service for parishioners and their pets.
You and your family pets are invited to this special service held in our churchyard! Join in this fun tradition and invite your family
and friends to attend, too!
Please note: If it rains that morning, the Pet Blessing is canceled and we will have two regular 8 and 10AM inside church services instead.
Questions? Contact: Karen Schaeffer
St Mary Anne’s participated in the “Stepping for Heroes–We will Never Forget” 9/11 remembrance event last Saturday morning at the North East firehouse. Fr. John offered prayers for first responders and a block away, our church bell rang after a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.
Our church bell rang for a minute at 8:47am to commemorate the time when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Thanks to bell ringer parishioners Bill Weisel and Charlie Kornsey. Bill is a retired policeman and fireman and Charlie is a retired Philadelphia fireman.
Last Sunday, parishioners continued 9/11 remembrances with special prayers during our worship services.
Music set the somber tone, as parishioners first listened to Joel Alarcon’s beautiful and emotional violin performance of the “Schindler’s List” theme by composer John Williams.
If you missed it, you can watch a recording of last week’s livestream service at minute 35.20 for Joel’s performance, immediately followed by the special prayers.