BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some prayers have been answered, thanks to a little faith in fundraising.
A historic church with a tiny congregation in desperate need of repairs is getting help from anonymous donors, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.
United Methodist, the oldest house of worship in Bay Shore, a landmark on Main Street since 1854, is being saved.
It’s an answer to many prayers.
“It’s a miracle. There’s no other way to explain it,” Rev. Wendy C. Modeste said. “They were walking in my office with checks. They were mailing checks as small as $25.”
Strangers came forward to help the 61 families who attend Sunday services held in bleak conditions due to the sanctuary’s tin ceiling falling apart and walls peeling.
“We are staying somewhat ahead of it with a vacuum, but it’s not a solution,” United Methodist Church board member Greg Goodrich said.
Bay Shore’s Chamber of Commerce sent out an email blast urging support, saying, “We take pride in our downtown. This congregation is a gem of our community.”
The local Jewish center, the Congregational and Catholic churches all pitched in.
“We put it in our bulletin that if anyone wanted to contribute to their renovations they’d be very welcome to make a gift,” said Msgr. Thomas Coogan of St. Patrick’s Church. “We talked all about the ways our communities work together.”
United Methodist is home to head start programs. Thirty diverse community groups meet weekly. It offers a soup kitchen, love and support.
“I’ve been coming here since I was 6 years old. This was the original sanctuary. Now it functions as Fellowship Hall,” parishioner Dale Dowd said.
United Methodist has taken in more than $400,000 in donations. Some of it was used to paint the church’s exterior. Next comes the interior and then the re-glazing of the cherished stained glass windows. There might even be enough cash left over for an automated church bell.
Church leaders said they meet every morning to offer prayers of thanks to their generous community. Their rehab goal is $500,000.