Operation Going Up – letter from the Pastor

Operation Going Up – letter from the Pastor









Fair Street Reformed Church

Reverend Kendra VanHouten, Minister    I    Ellen Dockery, Office Manager

Tina Meschi, Treasurer



Dear Fair Streeter,                                                                                                             March 2023

I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’

Psalm 122:1

Dear Fair Streeter,

I feel very much like the Psalmist these days, filled with hope and joy to be able to witness God at work here at Fair Street, only to turn a corner and be hit with a sense of overwhelming worry as we navigate our way forward in caring for this big ol’ building.

Similarly, it is exciting and joy-filled when we gather each Sunday morning for worship in the Sanctuary, only to have the 48-year-old elevator stop working, creating a roadblock for anyone who would like to be back in the Sanctuary or Parish Room for worship and gatherings because they cannot safely navigate the stairs.

As you know, the elevator died back in January, making it no longer serviceable to provide safe passageway to both the Parish Room and Sanctuary. The Consistory has been working diligently to find the best solution to serve the needs of Fair Street and her community.

The current elevator, installed in 1975, has served us well, making sure folks needing assistance were able to safely make it to either lever in the church building. For the countless trips up and down, and the many folks who serviced it, nursing it along over the years, we can say thanks be to God!

Operation Going Up: This week, the Consistory has agreed that it was in the best interest of Fair Street to replace the elevator, and further to replace it with a Lift System! The lift for Fair Street is being designed to fit into the footprint of the elevator shaft, which means, that while we will have some prep work to do, the space is already in place and ready!

What happens now: The Consistory has agreed to move forward and have Accessibility Solutions do the work. Upon completion of the paperwork, they will come to begin work to remove and take away the existing elevator. We will then get to work with the required masonry, electrical, and cosmetic work to prepare the space for installation. Once the space is ready, the company will then come back to install the system. It is anticipated that this will take roughly 12 weeks.

This sounds expensive!? While it’s not cheap, it is less costly than installing an entirely new elevator. We anticipate the entire cost to be $40,000 (this includes the $30,000 for the contract with the lift company,

and the additional work). Like several upgrades over recent years, we believe the lift will welcome folks back into the Sanctuary and Parish Room, creating an accessible and welcoming building once again!

Currently, the Consistory and Stewardship Team are working on grant applications and additional funding. With the generosity from two individuals, we have already received $9,500 in matching gifts! This means that anyone who contributes towards Operation Going Up, your gift will be doubled! We ask that you prayerfully consider how you might be able to contribute towards this opportunity, helping us return to being a welcoming and accessible building for worship and fellowship.

We know that this is a big ask, and we wouldn’t ask if we didn’t believe God to be faithful, who works and provides as we live into our call to love and welcome our neighbors. We have witnessed God at work over the past 175 years! God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. We hope that you are as excited as we are with this capital improvement at the church! It is our hope and prayer that this lift will extend a warm welcome of hospitality for years to come as the body of Christ continues to gather for worship and fellowship!

Any gifts given towards Operation Going Up, will go into the Buildings and Groups Capital Improvement Fund to allow any excess funds to be used for maintenance of the lift and future pressing projects we know are on the horizon, but for right not, the lift is our priority.

Know that if you have any questions, you can reach me at any time on my cell phone through a phone call, text, or even an email. You can also reach out to your Care Group Elder and/or Deacon, their information is below.

Again, for me, as Pastor, it is overwhelming, humbling, and a bit frightening to come with such a request … but I know that without a doubt, God will provide, and on that day, when we can all safely make it into the sanctuary, I will be glad when we can say … Let us all…no matter who you are, how you get around … go to the house of the Lord.

Grace and peace be with you today and always,

Pastor Kendra VanHouten


Your Consistory members are Linda Brown, Terri Bouyea, Valerie Percy, Linda Ziwich, Richard Dunn,

Ann Kalmbach, Leslie Clark, George Campbell, Stephanie Costa, Tim Johnson, Sharon Amorelli, Ray Tator, and Rev. Kendra




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