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First United Methodist Church holding ‘Brick by Brick’ fundraiser

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MASSENA - It will cost $7,000 to replace old brick and mortar at First United Methodist Church, Massena, and a “Brick by Brick” restoration fundraiser is now underway to raise the money.

Greg Mockry, a member of the church’s Finance Committee, said they’ve held off as long as possible on repairing the brick and mortar, some of which dates back to the original construction of the church.

But now, Mr. Mockry said, they just can’t wait any longer because not addressing the problem could lead to other issues.

“The problem that has already been developing slowly is once you have holes in the mortar moisture gets in. Some bricks have actually started to lose their hold. It’s just like loosening the dike. One little hole can get worse,” he said.

Mr. Mockry said the oldest half of the church was constructed in 1869 and the newer half was built in 1914, and much of the existing brick and mortar is original.

“They have done some actual brick replacement on parts of the church in the last 30 years. But there’s a lot of the church that is still the original brick and original mortar. Mortar wasn’t the quality back then as it is now. It’s amazing how well it’s held up,” he said.

Still, some bricks now have holes, and have reached the point where they need to be replaced, according to Mr. Mockry. Some are in bricks as high as 60 feet and as low as 2 feet, around the church.

They were discovered last year, but funding wasn’t available to fix the problem. Now they’ve reached the point where they need to be replaced, he said.

“This year we couldn’t put it off any more,” Mr. Mockry said.

They received an estimate last year and that estimate has held for this year because church officials took out one part of the work that they could tackle themselves.

“I think he’s going to start the first week of May. Now our job is to raise $7,000,” he said.

The Finance Committee has been working with Bruce Tusler, a church trustee, and the Rev. Heather Stierheim, pastor, to get the ball rolling.

“The three of us kind of got it off the ground. We’re going to do this, and we don’t have the money available from the trustees. It’s not there. We’re going to do (the fundraiser) because we have to. If we fall $1,000 short, at least we raised $6,000, and we’ll get $1,000 from the trustees,” Mr. Mockry said.

That’s why they need to turn to church members. Mr. Mockry’s wife has made up a poster to show their progress toward that goal. It has a picture of the church with brick stepping stones that are colored in as the money is raised.

He said they included a special “Brick by Brick” envelope in everybody’s church bulletin on Sunday, and they made an announcement about the fundraising campaign in their latest newsletter.

“It goes out to everybody that’s a member of the church. They received that Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll get some people to mail in a check. There are a lot of people that have gone to the church over the years. Maybe they’re not going now or maybe they stopped going to church, but have a lot of good memories. Maybe there are one or two who might want to help out,” Mr. Mockry said.

Anyone interesting in helping can also drop by the church from 9 a.m. to noon daily to drop off a donation and also get a receipt.

If you would like to mail in a donation, please mail it to: First United Methodist Church, 189 Main St., Massena, N.Y. 13662, Attention: Restoration Fund.

For more information, contact the church office at 769-8036.

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