BERKELEY (KRON) — A historic East Bay church that was seriously damaged by a massive fire last year has a long way to go before a total renovation.
A lot of work has gone into the construction of Berkeley’s First Congregational Church’s Sanctuary.
QuadCopter4 took a look at the repair work from above to see the progress so far.
“There’s a lot of heartaches. There’s a lot of grief. A lot of sense of displacement.”
“there’s still fire damage on the roof that we’re working on”
The fire broke out on the roof of the building that houses offices, Sunday school rooms, the kitchen and thrift shore.
“When you lose everything in a fire you lose so much,” said Molly Baskette, Sr. Minister of First Church Berkeley UCC. “It’s really really hard.”
That entire building burned to rubble. The blaze spread to the Sanctuary’s roof, leading to significant water damage inside. After 7 months, the new facelift is almost complete.
“Mew plaster, new carpets, refinished the floors, new upholstery on the pews.”
Construction has been focused on the church’s sanctuary as well as its roof so the congregation can get back in there as soon as possible to worship. As for the main building, what’s to become of it is yet to be decided.
“Right now it’s really an open question for us. We know what our values are, we long to serve the community more deeply. It’s our moral obligation to put it into the service of those in need and those who are suffering in our wider community.”
But before any of that can happen, they need more money. With an estimated $9 million in damage, the church received $100,000 in donations that helped with the current repairs. However, they’re a long way from complete rehabilitation.
“We think that every time something bad happens it’s God’s doing, and God doesn’t send those things but he uses those things to help us grow.”
The congregation has been worshipping at another location in North Berkeley. Their sanctuary is on schedule to reopen for Pentecost, the first Sunday in June.