Church starts roof-repair project |

Church starts roof-repair project

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

Andre Salvail The Aspen Times

Though the Aspen Community Church is well short of the overall $4.95 million fund-raising goal to shore up the 123-year-old building, work on the roof and the exterior brick walls is about to begin, according to its pastor.

The Rev. Jane Keener-Quiat said Monday that the church, located at North Aspen and East Bleeker streets, has raised about $1.7 million, of which $350,000 was secured in the past year. Various areas of the historic structure are cracking, crumbling and sinking, and the church could no longer wait to begin repairs.

“We’re at $1.7 million, which will cover the roof and the stone work, but it does not cover the interior or the stained glass,” she said. Interior work will involve reinforcing the church’s sagging balcony and new electrical, heating, plumbing and lighting systems, Keener-Quiat said.

She said that because the church has been operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city in recent years, it was imperative to begin the project this year.

While the work is being done, services will be held in the basement of the building, called the Fellowship Hall, beginning at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday. A walkway has been set up on the Aspen Street side of the church so that worshipers won’t be hampered by construction infrastructure.

The church’s official membership includes between 50 and 75 families. Sunday services draw anywhere from 15 to 50 people, including visitors and locals.

The landmark structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. It provides rehearsal and concert space to the Aspen Music Festival and School and is used for yoga and meditation classes, weddings and memorials, lectures and organ recitals, 12-step recovery programs, children’s music lessons and support for the homeless shelter.

Much of the interior and exterior damage was caused by the faulty roof. Time is chipping away at mortar holding together the sandstone rocks out of which the church was built. Cracks in the stained-glass window frames are visible, even from a distance.

“If we can raise just a little bit more, we can also do the stained glass, while the scaffolding’s up,” Keener-Quiat said.

Tie rods to support the faulty roof were erected in late November and December 2010. The church was closed for six weeks back then because the roof needed emergency stabilization at a cost of more $50,000.

“Engineers determined that the trusses, between the ceiling and the roof, were carrying much more weight than they were designed to carry, and they said the roof could collapse and it would be sudden and catastrophic,” she said.

The roof and stone work will take three to four months, Keener-Quiat added.

The church is officially aligned with the Progressive United Methodists denomination but is open to all. Contributions to assist the project can be mailed to Aspen Community Church, 200 E. Bleeker St., Aspen, CO 81611. For more information, call Keener-Quiat at 970-925-1571.

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