A restoration of love, dedication

Service: A member of Holy Trinity Church helps restore the building in time for its 125th anniversary.

December 14, 2003|By Amanda Angel | Amanda Angel,SUN STAFF

The Rev. John McIntyre, Jim Wollon's architecture business specializes in historic restoration. So when Holy Trinity Church in Churchville, where Wollon was baptized and now serves as the property warden, needed a restoration, he combined his expertise and dedication to the church.

"Jim was a big force behind this restoration," said Kitora Bartley, the church's senior warden.

The Rev. John McIntyre, who is affectionately known by the Holy Trinity congregation as Father Mac, agreed. "We are just indebted to Jim for his love of this church," he said.

The Episcopal congregation began discussing a capital campaign to fund restoration of the church, which is on the south side of Route 155 near the intersection with Churchville Road, in 1997 after questions about the building's structural integrity arose, Bartley said.

"The church needed to be repointed [a process that applies mortar where it had eroded], and we didn't know if the belfry was going to fall over," she said.

After assessing that the belfry was stable, but affirming the need for restorative work, the congregation embarked on a capital campaign in 1998 with the help of McIntyre, who began his tenure at Holy Trinity in November.

The 200-member congregation raised almost $450,000 for the restoration of the church and a renovation of the parish house, a one-story wooden building on the southern side of the Holy Trinity campus.

The congregation decided to clean the church ceiling, pull up the carpets, install a new hardwood floor and central air conditioning, refinish the pews and bring the building into compliance with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, Wollon said.

Wollon researched the original architectural plans at the Historical Society of Harford County and examined items he salvaged from the church, storing them in the attic of his Havre de Grace house. He advised the church's officers to hire contractors with whose work he was familiar: Doug Lombardi, who repointed the stone, and Francis Gibbons of Baltimore Church Interiors, who restored the inside of the church. Bartley said the restoration was completed in four months over the summer.

The current church was built in 1878 after a fire destroyed the original Holy Trinity Church, built in 1866. It took one year to finish construction on the Gothic Revival building. The stone used to build the walls was quarried in Churchville.

Carpet from the 1970s and the original floor were pulled out and replaced with a new hardwood floor. A carpet that Wollon said "has a pattern that recalls the original" runs between the pews. The new flooring not only improved the appearance of the interior, it improved the acoustics, he said.

"Father Mac doesn't have to use a microphone now," Bartley said.

The congregation hopes to take advantage of the improved sound soon when it installs a used organ.

The Right Rev. Robert W. Ihloff, bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, will rededicate the church during his annual visit to Churchville on Dec. 21 - the day before the 125th anniversary of the first service conducted in the church Dec. 22, 1878.

The simultaneous celebration of the rededication, restoration and anniversary of the church was not planned.

"It was a happy coincidence," Bartley said of the timing.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.