First Church Natick, that iconic 225-year old congregational church in Natick Center, has launched its Faith in Our Future Capital Campaign with the goal of raising $750,000 toward a $1.5 million restoration and renewal project.
The congregation plans to refurbish the building’s 1876 steeple and refresh indoor spaces. Church leadership hopes the updates and enhancements will lead to increased use of the building’s large worship space and fellowship hall, especially for performance, educational, civic and social events in the community.
The balance of the project costs will be offset by a refinance of the church’s mortgage and a withdrawal from the church’s endowment fund.
Known as Natick’s front porch, you can’t miss the historic structure. Currently Adirondack chairs just outside the massive front doors beckon passers-by to take a break; Natick artist-in-residence Amy Adams’ side-lawn installation “Am I Here” encourages conversations about support and treatment of those with mental illness; and last month hundreds of purple and red flags fluttered in the breeze to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic.
While work to preserve the safety and integrity of the church steeple was begun early last spring in advance of fundraising, the bulk of the improvements will center on the second-floor sanctuary, the church’s large worship space. A design team, composed of 13 church members and architect Ann Vivian of GVV Architects, plans for updated lighting, enhanced audio/visual capabilities and improved internet connectivity for virtual programming. New flooring in the space will improve the sanctuary’s acoustics. A redesign of the chancel, or raised stage area, will create improved accessibility for program participants and leaders alike.
FCN Interim Pastor Jonathan New says new lighting, fresh flooring, upgraded sound and ramps for the chancel “will make the sanctuary much more useable and also strongly convey the kind of welcome and inclusion that we value as a congregation, specifically for persons who are mobility-impaired. This work will allow us to live into our full embrace of them as worshipers and worship leaders to make that aspect of church life as available to them as anyone. That’s what this congregation has aspired to do and to be with regards to different kinds of people whom the church has historically forgotten or sometimes consciously omitted.”
FCN’s Faith in Our Future Capital Campaign will include visits to about 100 church member households and direct outreach to key community stakeholders. It will conclude in November with a culminating celebration at the church. Work on the interior projects is likely to begin in summer of 2022. Community members who would like to contribute to the campaign or inquire
about the use of space at FCN may contact the church office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (508) 653-0971.