Below is a letter from Father Earley, passed along by a parishioner from St. Thomas:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The year 2020 has been very challenging to us on so many fronts. The pandemic has impacted our daily lives on every level imaginable. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have died because of Covid-19 and all those who are mourning the loss of a loved one to Covid-19. I am also remembering all those who have suffered some form of economic loss because of the pandemic.
One thing that has not changed, unfortunately, is maintaining the buildings of our Parish. Over the past several weeks we have experienced the following:
- St Thomas Church Boiler failed.
- Chimney base collapse in St Thomas Rectory.
- Flat Roof seal failure at St Thomas Church.
When it rains, it pours. We also had a break-in at St. Thomas Church. The intruder assaulted one of our employees before escaping. We also prioritized two projects for improved staff security. The first is the re- keying of all doors in the Church, Hall and Rectory with keys that cannot be copied. All distributed keys are now tracked when disseminated. The old church key could be easily copied, and we have no idea how many are in circulation. With proper key control, only those with an approved need to enter the church can now do so.
The second project is the replacement of the doors at St Thomas Church. As we have told you in the past, the front doors do not line up properly allowing cold and hot air to easily flow through the gaps. In addition, the doors can be pried open with out much effort. The two side doors are in similar degree of poor condition. Although the doors are all re-keyed, they can be forced open, putting staff at risk. Their replacement is crucial for staff safety.
St. Thomas rectory was built as a private residence in 1854. The parish purchased it when the parish of St. Thomas of Villanova was established. Back in 1854, the house was heated by fireplaces. They are closed off. However, a support for several fireplaces and the chimney collapsed. What prevented the fireplaces from collapsing into the basement was a fireplace getting caught on a rafter as it started to fall. That support had to be replaced.
St. Thomas of Villanova church has two flat roofs. The seal on the roofs has failed. This resulted in water damage to the inner walls of the church. We need to fix the broken seals.
The cost for these repairs and projects is substantial and our reserves are not adequate to pay for them. The costs are as follows:
- St Thomas Church Boiler – $69,175.00 (Could be higher based on contingencies not included in this price)
- Chimney Base Repair – $3,800.00
- Roof Seal Repair – $10,400.00
- Re-Keying Church Property – $2,628.00
- St Thomas Church Door Replacement – $73,000.00
The total cost that we are facing is at a minimum $159,003.00. The repairs and projects are all necessary and we have no discretion regarding their timing. We do not have the cash reserve to pay for them. For this reason, I am asking for your help. I know that during this pandemic, some of you may be facing financial difficulties. However, for those not facing those issues, I am asking all such parishioners to prayerfully consider donating towards these costs.
Please give as generously as you can. However, please know that each donation, no matter how small or large is greatly appreciated and needed. Please help us to continue to maintain the Parish of the Transfiguration as a faith community we can all be proud of.
May God bless your generosity, and may He continue to bless you and your loved ones with every grace you need to live faithfully in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
Reverend Phillip B. Earley, Pastor
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