Congregation Gets Ready to Rebuild after Fire

Congregation Gets Ready to Rebuild after Fire

Bill Harwood has been a member of the College Street Congregational Church since 1946.
BURLINGTON - Bill Harwood has been a member of the College Street Congregational Church since 1946.

"I was baptized in this church," he said.

He says growing up in Burlington, his life revolved around the church--and it still does today.

"We sing in the choir, my wife does the bells," he said.

But Bill and his wife won't be worshiping at their beloved church this Sunday; the building is too damaged from Wednesday's fire in the church steeple.

The historic steeple has been on top of the church since the 1860s, but Thursday most of its slate shingles littered the sidewalks and church lawn. Church members hope to take it down in one piece to build an exact replica.

"It may be a problem, because it's pretty burned up," said Frank Willis, a church member and chair of the Building and Grounds Committee. He was overseeing crews Thursday as they cleaned up debris and water damage.

"One day at a time is all you got," he said.

One day at a time to fix nearly $1 million in damages to the building.

"It's got so much character," said Bill. "It's got history. It was started as an abolitionist church in 1860," he explained.

For now, the parishioners will have to worship elsewhere, without letting the tragedy get them down.

"Life goes on," said Frank. "We'll be back, and I think it will make us stronger."

The church plans a meeting Thursday night to discuss alternative locations for Sunday's services.

Aliaksandr Bychkou pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday to starting the fire. His mental health is being evaluated.

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus