A Bold Challenge for the Future
To celebrate our 250th anniversary, and in order to continue to serve our members, community, and city, the congregation of First & Franklin Street decided to undertake an ambitious program of improvements to our historic campus. With the distinguished local architectural firm of Murphy & Dittenhafer, we developed a comprehensive master plan. We launched a capital campaign in 2008, and have raised almost $1.8 million from our members and friends, including planned giving and support from local foundations. Individual contributions ranged from single digits to six figures; the generosity of our donors was inspiring and humbling.
The first phase of work consisted of major interior renovations to the Sanctuary itself. The year-long project was completed in the summer of 2010. It included:
- repair and repainting of all plasterwork
- installation of air conditioning
- upgrades to the electrical, lighting, and sound systems, and
- expansion and reconfiguration of the chancel area to provide increased flexibility in worship services and performances.
The visual impact of the completed project is stunning. The color scheme, while incorporating major components of the original colors from 1859, also adds rich and subtle details in contrasting colors that highlight the magnificent plasterwork. The new lighting helps draw the eye upward, throwing the architectural structure into greater relief and reinforcing the uplifting message of this glorious sacred space.
The work does not stop here. The next phase of capital improvements will include the renovation of Hodge House for new church offices, nursery and children’s facilities, exhibition space, and a fellowship hall for congregational and community functions. This will permit the church to expand its mission and hospitality work in our neighborhood. The final phase of capital projects will be the construction of a connecting structure linking the Sanctuary, Hodge House, and Backus House, providing handicapped access to the campus. We will also create a courtyard columbarium to cherish the ashes of departed members and friends.
Please join us in this exciting undertaking. Any contribution is treasured. We do this work not just for the preservation of our beautiful and beloved buildings, but because we dream of a great future of devotion to God, service, creativity, and adventure for our historic church. We renew and restore not just our campus, but our hearts as well, building on the traditions of our faith as we face new challenges and opportunities.