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Ewing Presbyterian church Admin Commission report says historic church can be saved

August 22, 2010

1st Presbyterian Church of Ewing listed in PNJ's 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2009.

The Administrative Commission appointed by the New Brunswick Presbytery last year to settle the disputes within the congregation of the Ewing 1st Presbyterian Church about the historic 1867 stone Sanctuary released its final report this weekend,  stating that, structurally, there is no reason to raze the landmark church at the bend in Scotch Road.  The Commission engaged the professional services of preservation architects Farewell, Mills Gatsch (FMG) and engineer James B. Huffman, P.E. to thoroughly analyze the stresses evident on the roof trusses and other issues that had previously led the Ewing Church governing body (Session) to call for the building’s demolition.

The report formally voids the church Session’s previous decision to demolish the structure and returns the matter to the full Church congregation for further “prayer and consideration. ”  It calls for the congregation “as one body” to undertake a visioning process that focuses on the “deep meaning and historic importance (of the Sanctuary) for many in the body,”  The extensive FMG report recommends, and the Commission confirms that, until this study, the true causes of the structural movement and appropriate repair methods “were not fully known and therefore overstated.” The extensive repairs undertaken in 2005 are confirmed to have made the building safe, and the report strongly states that, should the Ewing congregation decide to “do nothing,” the building is not in imminent danger of collapse and could be preserved as-is for some time.  Based on recommendations of the architects, the Commission  suggests several possible outcomes: repair and reopening of the stone sanctuary, following one or more of the repair options proposed by the FMG study; or sale or lease of the Sanctuary to another organization in order to preserve it.  The Commission points to broad support for preservation of the historic church and urges the congregation to tap “enthusiastic” resources among it own membership and the greater community, including the PRES Coalition that raised more than $200,000 towards preservation, the citizens of Ewing Township, and Preservation New Jersey.

The extensive, 108-page report of the Administrative Commission is available on the Ewing Presbyterian website, here>>.

Donate to the Ewing Church preservation fund by clicking here>>

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan Buriak - Hightstown Historic Preservation Commission permalink
    August 25, 2010 4:19 pm

    Too many times, we see news stories of another great structure lost. It was so refreshing to see this news today – that this remarkable part of Ewing and the Presbyterian faith’s history can continue its historical stature of strength and serenity, even in its weakened state. Congratulations to the extended team of preservation-minded hands that stepped in to hold back the wrecking ball and get this thorough assessment.
    Keep up the great work… I look forward to visiting this noble structure which certainly conveys the PNJ phrase “someplace… not just anyplace”.
    Dan Buriak
    Hightstown Historic Preservation Commission

  2. August 27, 2010 12:41 pm

    Thank not god, but the sensible people here on the ground!! In Europe now and visiting all the grand old church structures and saw scaffolding on some. Much older. Much more involved repairs. Always worth it!
    This is Joe live from a train in Poland via iPhone and very happy to get this news!
    Glad trere were those who resisted those who make up that session or whatever they call it.

  3. January 16, 2013 8:05 pm

    I really ponder as to why you labeled this post, “Ewing Presbyterian church Admin Commission
    report says historic church can be saved PreserveNJ”.
    In any event I personally admired the post!Thanks a lot-Edmundo

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