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1888 church restoration funds hit halfway mark
Green Crow and Independent Bible Church gave a major lift Nov. 15 to efforts to restore and preserve Port Angeles’ first church building.
The timberland corporation and the church each contributed $5,000 to benefit the landmark structure at the southeast corner of East First and Vine streets in Port Angeles, believed to be the last remaining nonresidential structure built by the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony.
Built in 1888 as a Congregational Church, the historical building currently houses the Serenity Thrift Store, with all profits going to help end homelessness in Clallam County. The preservation project will keep the roof over Port Angeles’ first church building and restore the historical character of the exterior façade. Thursday’s donations boosted both major elements of the project, which is projected to cost about $45,000.
John David Crow designated Green Crow’s gift for the façade improvement portion of the project when he personally delivered the check to the Serenity House office. With the Green Crow donation, contributions and pledged support from other local businesses go a long way to meet the 50-percent match required by the City of Port Angeles for a $6,642.50 façade-improvement grant awarded last month.
The city grant and private-sector contributions designated for façade restoration now total more than half of the $24,000 budgeted for that work. Independent Bible Church pledged $5,000 to the roof replacement portion of the project. The IBC congregation met in the building as recently as the mid-1960s.
With leadership from Lighthouse Christian Church, roof replacement is being supported primarily by local churches. First Presbyterian Church was the first to contribute to keeping a roof over of the community’s oldest church, with a $2,000 gift. IBC’s pledge brings the total raised for roof replacement to date to $14,000 or about 40 percent of the projected $34,450 cost of roof work. Serenity House had some of those funds set aside that were donated by about 30 community members, as a memorial to store founder Sally Garnero.
Serenity House’s Port Angeles Thrift Store continues to be open for business daily in the historical church building, with interior redecoration nearly complete. Donations of gently used household items, clothing, furniture and more are welcome.
Net sales revenue goes 100 percent to support Serenity House’s 14 housing and services programs serving people who are homeless or experiencing housing crises in Clallam County. Roof and façade restoration is planned to be completed in time for a September 2013 celebration during Port Angeles Heritage Days of the landmark building’s 125th Anniversary.
The Clallam County Historical Society has agreed to partner with Serenity House to organize this event, which will rededicate the building to extended service to the community. A permanent historical sign will be installed, commemorating the history of the building and the restoration project.
Others wishing to contribute or volunteer to help preserve the community’s oldest church can contact Serenity House at 452-1439.