Building Restoration

Grant Applications Filed
 

The church filed applications for grants to support the building repair work.  These submittals portray our good work in the community and how our building supports that work.

 

1. Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund: We have applied for a $80,000 matching grant. The decision is due June 9, 2021. (Note that the title of the grant, "First Church of Jamaica Plain," is not a typo; that is how our church is listed in the national and state register of historic places.)

 

2. Fund for Sacred Places: We have applied for a $250,000 matching grant. This is a pre-screening submission for an extraordinarily competitive national program. The decision whether we can submit a full application for the grant is due in early June 2021.

3. Henderson Foundation (Application and Narrative):  We have applied for a $40,000 grant to support the complete restoration of 3 leaded-glass windows in the sanctuary that have deteriorated to the point that they are letting water in the building.  The decision is due this summer.

4. National Trust for Historic Preservation:  We have applied for a $5,000 grant to support paying for Lynne Spencer's services to the church as a historic preservation consultant.  The decision is due this summer.

Grant Update from June 29, 2021

In June we got some good, sad, and expected news about our grant applications for the building work.

 

Good: The Massachusetts Historical Commission has awarded the Church a $50,000 matching grant to repair the bulge in our bell tower.  This is one of the larger grants MHC awarded this cycle.


Sad: The Henderson Foundation declined to give us a grant to repair our sanctuary windows. Reportedly they had a lot of window repair applications, and they wanted to fund other sorts of projects.


Expected: The National Fund for Sacred Places did not invite us to apply, which we anticipated given the extreme competitiveness of their program. Happily, they invited us to meet with their staff individually to discuss our letter of intent, an opportunity they were only extending to applicants who "just missed the mark."

This fall we will be applying for a Community Preservation Act grant from the City of Boston.

Exterior Envelope Conditions Assessment and Master Plan for the First Church in Jamaica Plain

In November and December 2020, the architectural firm of Spencer, Sullivan & Vogt conducted a careful examination of the “envelope” of our building (outside walls, roofs, doors, and windows) to assess repair needs and develop a master plan for restoring the church building. The resulting report will be a critical contribution to our planning for maintaining the integrity of our building to protect our historic structure and the valuable improvements in which we have recently invested. It will also be an essential support document for a series of matching grant applications that the Standing Committee and Trust recommend that the church pursue to help fund critical repairs.

The document comes in two pieces:

1. The body of the report. This detailed report is available to you using the following links:

2.  The report appendices. Here you will find pictures, documentation of the Church’s historic status, and other background materials.​

Additionally, click here for a one-page summary of grant and funding opportunities for which the church can apply.


Our building has been the vessel of our church’s history since 1853, and it has weathered the rigors of New England’s climate nobly. This report makes clear that we face important decisions about the stewardship of our church. The features of our building that we love – the sanctuary, our new audio/visual equipment, our historically significant organ, and the acoustic marvel of our parish hall – will not survive if we do not attend to the basic needs of keeping water out of the building. Thank you for your interest in the future of our church.

 

Supplemental Report on the Tower

In May 2021, we received the final report from SSV on the Church Tower restoration. This supplemental report includes a copy of the latest Tower-only cost estimate, as well as an updated overall cost estimate and an updated set of treatment drawings, that bring the whole picture together. 

You can read the Tower Report here.

The Jamaica Plain Gazette covered our restoration work on the tower. Read the article here.

Exterior view from Centre Street portrai