The Kingston N.J. Skyline Has Changed! At Least Temporarily!

High Climbers complete removal of the steeple and bell.

Renovation of the steeple of our historic Church on Route 27 in Kingston, N.J began the week of Oct. 26th, 2014.

The steeple, a local landmark that could be seen for miles, and the enclosed bell were taken down in sections to begin the multi-step renovation process.

On Oct. 28th, the finial (top of the steeple), was removed by the High Climbers. Over the next few days the spire and bell vault were taken down in sections. On Monday, Nov. 3rd, a crane was brought in to remove the historic bell.

Excited church members and local residents gathered to watch the removal of the bell which was installed in 1856. Rev. Sharyl Dixon, Pastor of the Church, invited spectators to enjoy cider and cookies on the lawn of the Pastor's residence, next door to the church, to watch the dismantling of the steeple. After the bell was removed, it was loaded onto a van for shipment to Ohio where an electronic ringer will be installed.

The large, ongoing expense of steeple upkeep compelled the Church to embark on a new approach using modern techniques. The existing wooden steeple will be replaced with a state-of-the-art steel/aluminum bell vault and spire and the bell will be refurbished. Plans initially submitted to the Franklin Township Historical Commission were approved in March 2014. In August, Franklin Township approved the architectural drawings and engineering plans.

The steeple will be completely renovated in a multi-step process.

  • The bell vault and spire will be replicated off-site with state-of-the- art structural steel and white aluminum cladding. ·
  • The tower will be restored with a polymer coating. ·
  • The bell will be re-installed in the bell vault with an electronic wireless ringer. ·
  • The lightning protection will be updated. ·
  • The internal structure will be strengthened to comply with current codes.

The long term benefit is:

  • No vault or spire maintenance for 50 years instead of $30K every 5 years. ·
  • No tower maintenance for 20 years.

In late November or early December, the newly constructed replica spire with original finial will be delivered to Kingston and installed, along with the bell vault and refurbished bell. Next spring, when temperatures permit, the bell tower will be restored with a polymer coating which will complete the renovation.

Because of the Church's history, and the high visibility of the steeple there is great local interest in the renovation. Letters have been sent to neighbors and businesses in the area to alert them about the imminent change in the skyline.  

Costs for the project are in excess of $250,000, of which more than half has already been raised by the congregation. As a result, the Church has reached out to members, friends, and businesses in the wider community for assistance raising funds for this improvement to the Kingston landscape.

Applying the Biblical principle of tithing, 10% of funds collected will go directly to local and international mission work. Our church has supported most of these organizations for decades and, in some cases, they grew out of members or friends who worshipped here during their formative years. 

To see how you can help please go to http://kingstonpresbyterian.org/about-us/steeple-renovation-project/will-you-help-us-restore-the-steeple/

For information about our Mission Partners please go to http://kingstonpresbyterian.org/about-us/steeple-renovation-project/kingston-presbyterian-church-mission-partners/