How We Got Here:
On December 7th, 2020, a small piece of the First Reformed Church steeple exterior fell to the street below due to high winds. An inspection was completed, and it became clear that significant repairs and preservation work would be needed right away. A significant amount of water damage has weakened the siding, platforms, and railings of the steeple. Flashing has also become loose and is not performing as it should. Temporary repairs were completed as the church pursued a long-term solution for the historic steeple. County officials were very helpful as volunteers sought a qualified contractor to complete the preservation work.
The beautiful steeple lights have also been failing over time, and the steeple isn't as prominently displayed as it once was. First Reformed Church and the Pequannock community are moving forward quickly to save this historic landmark at the center of our town. Restoration work is scheduled to begin in summer of 2021.
The Sanctuary of First Reformed Church is listed on the National Historic Registry. The internal structure of the steeple is strong and secure, but the exterior surfaces of the steeple will need to be replaced with similar materials and methods used during the steeple's original construction. It is important to maintain the historic beauty of this Christopher Wren inspired design. The current steeple was constructed in the late 1930s as the FRC sanctuary was rebuilt after a fire in 1937.
What's Next for the Steeple?
A team of staff and volunteer leaders has been interviewing contractors, working with county officials, and seeking out sources of supplemental funding. Three contractors have conducted an onsite inspection of the steeple. Lighting suppliers have also been onsite to recommend lighting fixtures to beautify and highlight the historic steeple. A team of volunteers identified sources of potential grant funding.
CIS Steeplejacks of Litchfield, Ohio has been chosen to do the much-needed restoration work during the summer of 2021. They have over 35 years of steeple repair and preservation experience. They send teams all over the country to do this specialized work. They will begin their work on July 8th, and the work should be completed in 4-5 weeks. CIS Steeplejacks comes highly recommended by churches across the northeast and midwest. Read more about CIS Steeplejacks by visiting their website.
We're very excited about the opportunity to repair, modernize, and upgrade the steeple lighting. We'll be installing weatherproof LED fixtures that will last for many years. They'll cast a beautiful white light on our iconic steeple. They will also allow us to illuminate the steeple with any color that we desire as we support important causes and seasonal celebrations. The steeple will once again mark the center of the Pequannock community.
The Steeple Needs Your Help:
We have set a fundraising goal of $200,000. This would allow us to complete the steeple restoration and install new lighting this summer. We'll celebrate this achievement with a Steeple Lighting Ceremony in August. There are many ways that you can support this historic preservation project:
- Church members and friends can add a fourth year to their 3-year capital campaign commitment. (Members of the Save the Steeple Team have already made this commitment.)
- Share this webpage with your friends on social media. Help us spread the word to former church members and residents of the Pequannock area.
How do I donate? Just click here to submit an online donation. Or drop a check off by the church office. Make the check out to First Reformed Church and write "Steeple" in the memo line.
Thank you for supporting this effort to save a historic landmark so that it may continue to offer light and hope to Pequannock and the surrounding communities.