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Parish Happenings
1st Quarter 2007


            On March 14th the Pastoral Council and the Finance Committee met with James Kopp, Director of Development for the diocese. He presented ideas on how to run a successful capital campaign for St. Paul's. For some time the committees have been getting estimates on repairing the rectory steps and porch foundation as well as looking at the major repairs that are needed for the parking lot. It was decided to do a capital campaign that would include these major projects as well as the roof replacement. The campaign would allow us to spread the cost over a three year period of time, with pledges spread out over the same period. This would create the least amount of  hardship on everyone.
            The capital campaign for these projects is by far the largest undertaking this parish has ever embarked on. The roots of St. Paul's run deep and our parishioners have always come through in the past and I'm sure they will this time.
              The Bethany Ministry Volunteers have been busy during February. Another  luncheon was put on February 27th, this time it was for the family of Fred Arnold.
           The snow storm on Valentine's Day made it necessary to close the church again, at least until the snow melts off the roof. We pray that we will be able to use our church for Easter Services. Winter was a long time coming, but the snow will be around for awhile.
           On February 12th the Bethany Ministry Volunteers put on another great funeral luncheon. This time it was for the Family of Frank Swartwout. Their efforts were very much appreciated by the family.
           The proposals we have been waiting for from the architects arrived on February 9th. and it seems that the most feasible and economical way to proceed is to replace the entire roof structure. The estimated cost of design, materials and labor is around $200,000.00. There are still a number of unknowns that can contribute to a change in the final cost. The walls of the church are not straight, after all the church was built in 1888. The barrel ceiling may or may not be able to be salvaged. The engineers are still working on that, as well as a design on how to re-enforce the area above the sanctuary.
          Besides the $200,000.00 plus price tag. The question arises whether Albany will let us do this, even if as a parish we have the desire. With all the meetings about Called to Be Church and the shortage of priests we need some idea as to what the diocese may have planned for St. Paul's in the future. Father Stephen will soon be making a trip to Albany and hopefully gain some insight into what they are thinking. We definitely need more information before a decision can be made as to the best way to proceed.
        The contractor has the shoring tower in place and the beam that runs across the ceiling is supported so it can not come down any further. We are now waiting on what the architects call: an (opinion of probable costs) for the repairs that need to be made and the best way to proceed.
         The architects are working on three different scenarios. We expect they will be ready for review within the week of Feb. 4th.   

A. An opinion of probable cost to: repair the current problem, which would be to repair the roof truss and the support beam.
B. An opinion of probable cost: to repair the broken truss, support beam and re-enforce all the main trusses as well as supporting the balcony better. If and when this work was done the roof would still not have been brought up to the current building codes.


C. An opinion of probable cost to replace the entire roof structure along with the balcony support being a part of that. The architect  believes this would be cheaper than plan B. The barrel ceiling may be able to stay as is. The barrel ceiling is supported by the main beams that run across the ceiling and that a roof structure may be able to be designed so as  to keep those in place.
        The shoring tower that is in place at the present time costs about $700.00  per month to rent and will need to be kept in place until final repairs are made.

        Now that the beam has been secured, the church is now safe to be used. Beginning this weekend Feb. 3rd and 4th the weekend Masses will now be in the church. Dailey scheduled Masses will continue to be in the rectory. The hole that remains in the ceiling to make room for the shoring tower is covered as best as it can be but there still is heat loss. The church will remain open during the day for those that wish to light a candle, but it will be on the cool side. During the week the Blessed Sacrament will remain in the rectory where it is warmer, for those that would like to pray. Feel free to take advantage of this.

         The contractors have made a hole in the ceiling of the church below where the truss was known to be broken. The original flat ceiling of the church was discovered to still be in place from years ago, this was before the present barrel type ceiling was installed. A shoring tower has been installed in the church proper as well as in the cellar. There are two contractors working working on the project and the original estimate we had from the contractor that is taking the ceiling out to gain access to the broken truss was for about $9,500.00. We have since gotten a clarification on the estimate, it also includes about 90 percent of the cost of the second contractor's work.  The second contractor will be doing the actual shoring and the repair. Now that there is good visual access to the area, the damage seen is more significant that what was originally thought. We are not sure what that will do to the original estimate, but of course it can't be good. Below are some pictures that have been taken. The far right picture shows part of the original wall and the painted design that was there before the barrel ceiling was installed.

Attic view of the roof area, the
white stuff is insulation.

Broken truss on the left side of picture
is pulling down  the roof boards.

Same roof truss: is split where it rests on the main support beam.


Main support beam is broken and should
be resting on the outer wall, but it does not.


Shoring Tower

         A Funeral Mass for Helen DaBrescia was held at St. Paul's on Sat. January 13th. Helen was the dental hygienist at the Hancock Central School for 30 years and a life long parishioner of St. Paul's.  
        The new year began on a high on a high note, with the return of Father Stephen and everyone was just settling nicely into the joy of having him back. We were looking  forward to going to Mass even more, to watch Father Stephen offer Mass at our beautiful new altar and to learn of some of the interesting things from his sabbatical to Assisi.  Suddenly our world changed and we are now offering Mass in the Father Rausch Hall on weekends and the scheduled daily Masses will be held in the rectory.
        There are a couple of cracks in the ceiling of the church near the area of the handicap entrance. They were thought to be just the normal expansion and contraction of the plaster joints. A sag in the roof of the church in the same area was noticed and upon further investigation, it was discovered that one of the roof trusses had broken and dropped down pulling the roof boards with it. The diocese  was notified and they sent an engineer to evaluate the problem. The engineer spent the day on Friday January 12th  inspecting the problem as well as the entire roof structure and the basement of the church. The recommendation was to close the church for safety reasons. His main concern was, if the problem got worse or we had a heavy snow there is a possibility that the plaster could fall from the ceiling and injure someone. We need to pray that permanent repairs Can be made immediately so we can use the church until a design for permanent repairs on be drafted and  repairs made.
        The church must remain closed to everyone for the present time, but the dining room in the rectory has been set up for Mass as well as to provide a place to pray during the day when the rectory in open. Feel free to take advantage of this opportunity.





     The first quarter of the new year started out with our Second Lord's Night Dinner on January 6th. The pot luck supper was well attended and there was a good variety of food and desserts. The occasion was also a welcome back get together for Father Stephen.
    Part of the welcome home get together for Father Stephen included a slide show presentation of some of the things that went on (so to speak) while Father Stephen was in Italy. The presentation was a random selection of photographs that were were taken when the opportunity presented itself and coordinated by a number of talented volunteers. A copy of the disc is available for your viewing, for availability check with Kate at the rectory. There are about 60 slides and that is way to many to put on the web site. Below are some of the pictures to give you an idea of what the presentation was all about.