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Sanctuary Repainting Update, January 15, 2020

After church services on Sunday, January 12, David Riccio, VP and decorative arts conservator at the John Canning Company, Cheshire, presented the findings and recommendations from his team’s recent investigations regarding the repainting of the FCCW sanctuary.  The cost of this advisory work was supported 50% by the church and 50% by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

With a comprehensive Power Point slide show, large-size samples of trompe l’oeil paintings, and an example of the color palette he would recommend, David shared with those present a wealth of information and guidance regarding artistic choices, finishes, and affordability.  His warm appreciation for the historic importance of the meetinghouse was evident throughout his talk.  His strong recommendation for repainting is for the 1860 pale grey and white grisaille décor that was found on the wall behind the organ.  Both the color palette and the quality of the decorative, painted brush strokes are quite extraordinary.

An interim Canning report is available both electronically and in print, upon request.  David, however, has agreed to further break down the budget so that we can better decide on various painting options and whether or not to do the work in stages rather than all at one time.  He may also provide us a few more small ‘close-up’ renderings of newly- found decorative 1860 features such as leaves, rosettes, and decals.  Both the new itemized budget and renderings will be added to a true Final report which will be available in the near future.  Furthermore, David is willing to present his findings and recommendations once again to anyone with special interest in supporting this effort, upon request.

The current estimated Canning budget for the plaster repair and repainting work ranges from $350K – $600K:  far more than original estimates we were given.  This budget, however, includes plaster repair and repainting of the narthex, 3 stairwells, 12 doors, and 14 large windows that we can choose to remove from this project and have done by another (perhaps less costly) contractor.  The application for a SHPO matching grant of up to $100k can still be made for the decorative repainting.

Both on the survey conducted in early 2019 and from those present on Sunday, there is enthusiastic support for the continued stewardship of our unique sanctuary.  That said, we will need an uber-generous donor or donors from within the congregation and/or from the wider community to renew the historic character and beauty of our church décor for future generations.

Please feel free to contact me or any of the trustees with comments or questions.   B. Joyce Simpson

FCCW Meetinghouse Repainting Update August 2019

On July 11, 2019, the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) informed the FCCW that they had approved our application and will provide us up to $20K in matching funds for the church to hire an expert fine arts conservator to advise on the plaster repair and repainting of the sanctuary, narthex, and three stairwells in the meetinghouse. Trustees have pre-approved up to $8K for these services ($4K FCCW and $4K SHPO).
The SHPO insist that the hiring process be competitive. Three conservators were sent a SHPO pre-approved RFP: David Riccio (John Canning, Cheshire), Gianfranco Pocobene (Boston, MA), Kelly Caldwell and Brooke Russell (Evergreene, Brooklyn, NY). A pre-bid walk-through by the three conservators will be held at 11AM on Thursday, September 12. Members of the congregation are invited to be present.
As stated in the RFP, the FCCW will expect the conservators to:-
• Assess the current condition of the interior surfaces of the Meetinghouse
• In their written proposal, describe the scope of work needed to repaint.
o The need (or not) to remove the previously-used latex paint from the plaster surfaces
o To recommend the correct materials that should be used to repair plaster and to repaint
o To advise on repainting design options that are consistent with the history of the building and provide either a visual electronic example or a mock-up of the proposed décor.
o To advise on the choice of colors that are consistent with the history of the building and provide either a visual electronic example or a mock-up of the proposed colors.
o To provide an itemized estimate of projected costs for the actual work (including scaffolding) that can be used to apply for future funding for the repainting.
• If chosen by the FCCW, the conservator, will be expected to provide a written report and to present of his/her recommendations to the FCCW congregation
• The conservators will include in their proposal the costs/charges for their services (described above)

Bids from each of the three conservators are due by Noon on Thursday, September 26. At that time, the Trustees will open all bids and must choose the conservator with the lowest bid – providing that the conservator is fully qualified and meets the requirements of the RFP. The SHPO must also approve the church’s choice of conservator. Conservators will be informed whether or not they were chosen by October 11, 2019. Then the FCCW will contract with the chosen conservator to provide their services, including a written report than can be used to apply for future funding for the actual work.
B. Joyce Simpson (trustee)

The Parishioner

January 2020 Newsletter

One December 23rd afternoon the phone rang as I was leaving my office. It was the director of a local funeral home. He asked if I would conduct a service for a couple whose son had been killed two days before. The coroner would release his body shortly and the family could gather in two weeks. Would January 6th work for me? Of course.

November 2019 Newsletter

I have a wonderful job.  But before I tell you why, let me begin with thanks.               Thank you to those who made our recent Festival of Art and Music the community celebration it was. A special ovation goes out to Bobbi Griffith, whose vision, planning, and boundless energy, brought us all together to strengthen the harmonic collaboration with the Town of Woodbridge. Many thanks to the Board of Music, Nenad Ivović, and all the artists, dancers and musicians who brought their energy and work to this sensational weekend.

October 2019 Newsletter

There’s a little game we play in our culture. I’m sure many of us have watched and played it. Not to boast or anything, but I’m pretty good at it. But it’s kind of perverse, though, the winner is actually the loser. To paraphrase Annie of Annie Get Your Gun: No matter how hard you work, I can work harder; No matter how tired you are, I’m much more fatigued.

September 2019 Newsletter

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

July and August 2019 Newsletter

If I had to make a list of my ten favorite words obedience and dependence would not make the cut. They’re important words, but for me they have a little negative edge to them. To be dependent is to rely heavily upon something or someone else. We don’t want to be dependent on foreign oil; and our economy is heavily dependent upon the labor of undocumented workers. Facing chronic illness or just growing old we fear we will become dependent on the care of others.

June 2019 Newsletter

A couple of weeks ago our Wednesday morning Bible Study read the story of the Apostle Paul’s return to the city of Philippi, found Book of Acts 16:9-15. One night Paul received a vision: a man from Macedonia (modern day Greece) stood over him saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Convinced God was calling him, he left with Timothy for Philippi the next morning. One Sabbath they went to a place of prayer to find folks who might be open to the good news.

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