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From The Cranford Patch: Trinity Episcopal Opens New Sanctuary by Michelle Walbaum, December 13, 2010.

See full article and all pictures: Trinity Episcopal Opens New Sanctuary

On Saturday afternoon organist James Lenney fired up Trinity Episcopal Church’s renovated organ, an added row of pipes now allowing the instrument to emit dramatically lower tones, as well as softer, lighter sounds.

With the church music in the background, around a dozen Cranford residents toured the renovated sanctuary, a project that took several years to complete, at an open house event. The sanctuary officially opened for services on Dec. 5.

“It feels like you’re back home again when you’re in the church,” said Warden Marion Nechuta, adding that the congregation attended services in the hall adjacent to the sanctuary for the past few years, prayer books and hymnals balanced on their knees.

At the open house, residents examined tiny carved details on the historical altar rail in the sanctuary – grapes, scrolls and leaves. After finding the piece collecting dust in the church basement, church officials had it retouched and reinstalled. The altar rail dates back to the 1800s.

For hot summer days, an air conditioning system was also installed. The church also renovated and re-painted the vestment room, where members of the clergy and choir don robes for services. Less noticeable, but most importantly, the basement is now reinforced with concrete and sump pumps – keeping the structure together.

Unlike most modern buildings, the chapel, built in the 1800s, did not have a layer of concrete anchoring it to the ground. So like the tower of Pisa, the Trinity Episcopal Church was structurally unsound – its walls bucking inward. It began happening after officials – unaware of the problem – removed the basement floor to allow for more head room.

Church officials had two options: Raze the building and erect another one, or renovate the existing structure. They chose the latter.

And for many congregants, including Arlene Fricke, saving the existing church was a meaningful undertaking. The sanctuary is in the family, so to speak.

Fricke’s grandparents attended Trinity Episcopal at the turn of the century. Her parents met and married in the sanctuary. She has been singing in the choir since age 7. “We’re grateful to have our church,” she said. “It’s a life circle to be here.”

Previously

There was a previous article in the Cranford Patch on February 15, 2010 by Kristin Thomas. Read about it here: Local Church Gets New Home

Preservation Award

Received February 10, 2011

From: Cranford Historical Society, Inc.
124 Union Avenue North, Cranford NJ

To: The Rev. Dr. Gina Walsh-Minor
Trinity Episcopal Church
North Avenue and Forest Avenue
Cranford, NJ 07016

Dear Rev. Walsh-Minor:

This letter is to inform you that the Trinity Episcopal Church has been selected for a 2011 Cranford Historical Society/Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board Preservation Award. This award is being presented to you and your congregation because you have preserved and maintained an historic building that is still being used for its original purpose.

The award will be presented at the annual “Pot Luck Dinner” on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Hanson House, 38 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, NJ from 4 – 6 PM. You and your guests are invited to attend. R.S.V.P. to the Cranford Historical Society.

Sincerely yours,
John E. Dreyer
President, Cranford Historical Society

Maureen Strazdon
Chair, Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board

Lori Hoffner
Chair, CHS Preservation Committee