"e;We can see the finish line,"e; says Gary Christensen. He's right. It doesn't take much to visualize what a resurrected Woodbury Union Presbyterian Church is going to look like when the contractors declare the job is done. The church that burned in a
“We can see the finish line,” says Gary Christensen.
He’s right. It doesn’t take much to visualize what a resurrected Woodbury Union Presbyterian Church is going to look like when the contractors declare the job is done.
The church that burned in a Thanksgiving eve fire in 2018 is close to being fully rebuilt. The exterior along with a new steeple in a new location is complete and as of last week work started on landscaping. Inside crews were painting, installing ceiling tiles and baseboard heating as well as building out the kitchen for the basement meeting room.
“We’re really happy,” said Christensen, a member of the congregation who has overseen the project since the fire. He thought the church could be ready for services by October although having dealt with the surprises of construction work topped by a pandemic he’s skittish to nail down a date.
Immediately following the fire, St. Benedict Church opened its doors to Woodbury services and the activities it hosted such as the Boy Scouts. Of late with restrictions on gatherings and a string of good weather, the congregation has been meeting outside in the field next to the William Shield’s VFW Post. Services are also being conducted on Zoom.
When they return to the church at the intersection of Beach Avenue and West Shore Road in the center of Conimicut, parishioners will find familiar stained glass windows, which were saved from the fire and a sanctuary of the same size but with greater utility. In place of pews there will be custom made chairs that can be moved to create different spaces and an open sound platform to the back of the room for the control of lights and audio. The original organ and pipes that also survived the fire, which is thought to have been started electrically, will be back. It is currently being rebuilt, Christensen explained.
He said the overall resurrection of the church that has been funded through a combination of the insurance payment, individual donations and fundraisers is within budget.
The pandemic has put restraints on a community-wide reopening celebration. When that day comes, and it looks to be soon, Christensen said it would be in accordance with pandemic protocols.