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Decision to DEMOLISH First Presbyterian Church of Ewing sanctuary

July 16, 2009

Immediately after a vigil in the cemetery that included singing, commentary, and much praying, the governing entity, known

The First Presbyterian Church of Ewing's 1867 sanctuary, now officially slated for demolition.

The First Presbyterian Church of Ewing's 1867 sanctuary, now officially slated for demolition.

as the Session, of the First Presbyterian Church of Ewing announced  yesterday evening their decision to proceed with demolition of the church’s historic sanctuary. The Session posted this notice on their website last night:

“Our faith teaches us to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we try to discern God’s will. We trust that the decision we have made to proceed with plans for demolition of the building has been so guided, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to provide support and spiritual nourishment as we move forward.”

Due to a gag rule that prevents Session member from commenting about the decision and blocked members of the Partners to Restore Ewing Sanctuary from observing last night’s deliberations, this is reportedly the sole explanation that will be provided.

The decision comes after an extraordinary community effort, led by the Partners to Restore Ewing Sactuary, a group of concerned congregation and community members, to raise funds and build awareness to restore the sanctuary building, which was closed in 2007 due to structural concerns.  More than 600 people had donated more than $225,000 to the cause.  Estimates to restore the building and halt deterioration have ranged between less than $250,000 and $2.5 million.  The group was hoping for an extension that would have allowed more time for fundraising and new approaches, including formation of a certified non-profit and a pending application for a NJ Historic Trust grant.

Supporters and members of the Partners to Restore Ewing Sanctuary rallied at the PNJ 10 Most Announcement on May 19th this year. The sanctuary was included on PNJ’s “10 Most Endangered” list this year.

Supporters and members of the Partners to Restore Ewing Sanctuary rallied at the PNJ 10 Most Announcement on May 19th this year. The sanctuary was included on PNJ’s “10 Most Endangered” list this year.

PNJ continues to support the Partners to Restore Ewing Sanctuary and hope that a tragic loss of yet another one-of-a-kind historic landmark and a building truly loved by it’s community can be averted.

Friday UPDATE:  Mounting anger over demolition decisionHere, and here

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. EJ Broomell permalink
    July 17, 2009 2:09 pm

    Of all things letting a pastor influence the decision who knows nothing
    about the structure except the cost.

    That’s how a Governing Board works.
    You have the decision maker & the yes men
    most cannot make a decision on their own due to fear
    that they will be in bad standings with the pastor
    or whomever else is the decision maker on the board.
    Been there, done that!

  2. EJ Broomell permalink
    July 17, 2009 2:21 pm

    To the Church Governing Board

    The church’s governing body in my opinion has made a hasty decision. I don’t see where any
    of them participated in the activities to raise funds for the project. So it was very easy for them
    to pass the death sentence if you will onto the structure!

    It seems they have failed in their so called effort to make the correct decision.
    Contrary to what others believe in their hearts that they were to participate in the
    endeavor because it is what the Members of the Congregation, the Community at large
    wanted to do.

    Pulling the rug out from everyone just because you do not wish to deal with the problem
    is leaning more towards the Governing Body showing themselves as a Judas of sorts!

    Plain old betrayal,

    Our faith teaches us to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we try to discern God’s will,” the note said. “We trust that the decision we have made to proceed with plans for demolition of the building has been so guided, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to provide support and spiritual nourishment as we move forward.”

    These words are quite hollow when someone tries to explain something AWAY spirtually.
    There is no proper explanation other than they prayed & came to this conclusion.

    Hmmmm…
    I beg to differ with the board… I ask you what makes you so special that only
    your prayer counts towards the decision.

    A congregational government would have taken that away from you in a heartbeat.
    What about what the wants of congregation, what about the community?

    Don’t you think they prayed about it too?

    Governing Boards are nothing but a few trust to make the right decision’
    for the church & its people.

    Looks as though this Board blew it big way!

    To the congregation:
    You do have a say in this!

    You can modify the type of church government you currently
    have and make the decision yourselves.

    Too much power for a few small people never brings good results.

    Of all things letting a pastor influence the decision who knows nothing
    about the structure except the cost.

    That’s how a Governing Board works.
    You have the decision maker & the yes men
    most cannot make a decision on their own due to fear
    that they will be in bad standings with the pastor
    or whomever else is the decision maker on the board.
    Been there, done that!

    E J Broomell

  3. July 21, 2009 10:03 am

    I still haven’t been able to figure who deemed that building unsafe. The note on the door doesn’t say much on it. I can see the walls bowing out but I can’t understand the big rush to knock it down. There are many buildings in Trenton that have been condemned abandoned for years & years, and nobody’s in a rush to knock them down. The fund raisers were given what the others on that private committee knew all along, an unobtainable goal. They been wanting to see that church destroyed for a long time. What kind of religious congregation would want to destroy their own church?!!. If they really cared about the building, then why did they wait so long to have it registered as a historic landmark. Shouldn’t they be able to petition funds from a source like that? It’s seems to me that there are many who have had this strategy going for quite some time now, and now they’re getting their way knowing it’s too late for the everyone else who want to see it repaired. But again, what is the rush. How can it be dangerous if there’s nobody allowed in there? Something smells funny… And the demolition company will surely sell all the brown stone , oak, & stained glass, and they’re charging $70,000? And after it’s gone, what then? A hole in the ground for the next 10 years? A strip mall? Dollar store perhaps? Sorry to exaggerate. but it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s the only building of it kind in this entire, ugly twp. and so many don’t care either way. What if the entire population of Ewing Twp. gave $2. Hmmmm. I wonder.
    The people on that private committee should be ashamed of themselves. They can’t get the $ together before this shady deadline and I keep reading about them saying that it must be god’s way or wish. I have no faith in whatever God they pray to and if, as they say, it is his guidance they’re following, then god is just as confused as they are. That’s not a god I would put any faith into, and as for as those followers are concerned, I have know faith in them either. God didn’t build that church, people did, and god isn’t knocking it over either. I really wish they’d grow a spine and LEAVE GOD OUT OF IT!

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