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Restoring Faith: Historic Park Slope church hosts live-music performance to celebrate repairs

The Old First Reformed Church is hosting a concert in celebration of the 19th century house of worship’s newly repaired ceiling, which collapsed in 2011.
Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about raising the roof!

A 130-year-old Park Slope house of worship is hosting an epic party to celebrate a major milestone in the historic building’s multi-million-dollar renovation that followed a 2011 ceiling collapse — and everybody’s invited, according to a church leader.

“We are extremely excited to welcome our neighbors and these talented artists into our ‘reborn’ sanctuary,” said Rev. Dr. Daniel Meeter, pastor at Old First Reformed Church, located on Carroll Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

The free, live-music blowout will feature fourteen all-Brooklyn acts — including the Michael Daves and Friends bluegrass band, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Amy Winehouse Teen Jazz Ensemble — and is billed as the first public event at the 19th-cenutry church since the unfortunate cave-in eight years ago.

That collapse precipitated a $9.6 million renovation project of truly biblical proportions, which concluded its first $1.6 million phase of construction work, which included repairs to the sanctuary’s 212-foot-tall spire, altar, chancel, pews, and — naturally — it’s coffered ceiling just in time for Easter weekend, when the First Reformed Congregation hosted its first church service since the disaster.

The second phase of construction, pegged at $4 million, will spruce up the church’s walls, windows, chandeliers, a mural by 19th century artist Virgilio Tojetti, and its 1891 Roosevelt-Moller pipe organ, while the final $4 million phase of work will see the holy house’s bathrooms and classrooms renovated, in addition to the installation of handicapped accessibility features to make the church ADA compliant.

Work on the decade-long construction project is being handled by a whopping five restoration firms, and is expected to wrap up in 2021.

The exquisite 19th century neo-Gothic revival sanctuary was designed by famed Brooklyn architect George L. Morse, whose stamp on Kings County’s skyline is evident in a variety of iconic private, public, and religious buildings spread throughout the borough, including the Franklin Trust Building on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, the Temple Bar Building on Court Street Downtown, and the Abraham and Strauss Department Store building on Fulton Street. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Party it up at the Old First Reformed Church [729 Carroll St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638-8300, oldfirstbrooklyn.org] May 19, 3 p.m. Free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:53 am, May 13, 2019
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