PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An historic Long Island church and local landmark is in danger of decay.
Upkeep of the church is costly because of rare, iconic features.
Parishioners are turning to the public for funding to help make emergency repairs.
The red brick, Romanesque revival church with historic Tiffany windows and a 100-foot tall spire soaring skyward is a Patchogue landmark.
“It really represents who we are as a community. It has been here since 1791,” said Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri.
“When this church was established, George Washington was the president,” said Rev. Charles Ferrara of the United Methodist Church of Patchogue.
Ferrara said United Methodist was moved to its present location at Church and South Ocean 130 years ago, with its full pipe organ and Gothic interior design.
“It’s emotional for me,” said Joan Curtis. She’s been a parishioner there since she was 13.
She showed CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan the extent of the water damage and decay at the church, which needs $350,000 for emergency repairs.
“We’ve been able to just put Band-Aids on, stop the bleeding so to speak of the church. We don’t want it to come tumbling down,” she said.
Nearby, Main Street is going full throttle with a swelling population and a resurgence of families.
“Every time I read that Patchogue is now a ‘destination,’ it’s like, ‘what?’ It’s wonderful, but there are a lot of people who need help,” said lay leader Barbara Becker.
It’s not just a house of worship. The church provides 6,000 meals a year to the needy, hosts a food pantry and a donated clothing room, McLogan reported.
‘When we talk about restoring the building, we’re not really talking about restoring it for ourselves. We’re talking about restoring it for the community,” Ferrara said.
“Hopefully people will feel in their hearts that it’s time to reach out and save this site,” Curtis added.
It’s estimated it will take $2 million to fully restore the church.
If you’d like to help fund the repair work, click here.