A makeover three years in the making is underway at the Charlotte Congregational Church. The community of about 120 families is replacing the steeple that once sat high atop their house of worship. The new structure is a replica of the original that was first built in 1850. It's just one of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of repairs to restore the site.
"You know you get a lot of thousand dollars pledges and we've raised, you know, over $700,000 and it takes hundreds of people, foundations contacting and their friends notifying their friends all coming together for the symbol," said Lane Morrison of the Charlotte Congregational Church.
The new 23,000-pound steeple has roots right here in Vermont. It was built in Barre with wood from the Northeast Kingdom.
"This structure was built completely from the ground up. There were engineers, architects involved and it's 5,000 pounds heavier than the original steeple," said Richard Kerschner of the Charlotte Congregational Church.
Shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday, all the prep and fundraising started to pay off. Crews and cranes worked together to lift the three-story structure high atop the church. As the steeple soared through the sky, excited onlookers watched from below.
"This is very historic for the community. You can see it driving up and down Route 7. Congregations all up and down Route 7 or similar to this," Kerschner said.
The faithful here hope the new steeple will be a warm and welcoming sign to those who pass by-- a simple message that all are welcome inside.
"This is the congregation's crowning achievement, that is true," Morrison said.
Services at the Charlotte Congregational Church will return with the new steeple in place this Sunday.
The second time proved to be the charm. It took two tries with the crane before the new steeple was in place.
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