SHERMAN - The Sherman Community Church realized the importance of community this year.
Several years ago, the church's steeple was severely damaged during a windstorm, requiring costly repairs.
After multiple contractors assessed damages and quoted prices for the restoration project - with one recommending tearing the steeple down to its first roofline - the church was left unsure of how to move forward.
The Sherman Community Church after the steeple restoration.
According to Gloria Neal, church board chairperson, as the various contractors discussed potential plans with the church, the steeple continued to deteriorate. Eventually, the church board considered removing the upper levels of the steeple to resolve the issue, though according to Pastor Roger Westley, the option of tearing the steeple down was never taken very seriously.
Upon learning of the board's considerations, the congregation pushed to restore the steeple and community members began contributing funds to repair the steeple rather than have it torn down.
This launched the Stand with the Steeple campaign, which area residents rallied around, ultimately leading to the spring 2013 completion of the steeple restoration.
A grant from the Community Foundation, several chicken barbecues and donations from community members, including a few substantial donations, restored the steeple.
According to Westley, a grant from the Community Foundation, several chicken barbecues and donations from community members, including a few substantial donations, restored the steeple. Overall, roughly $25,000 was raised in the effort.
John Aldrich, church treasurer, noted that the church board had originally hoped to hire a local contractor to complete the project, but was unable to find a contractor with the necessary equipment or experience in the area. At that time, Aldrich suggested the board look outside the area. Eventually, Clark Bono Inc., a contractor out of Buffalo familiar with steeple restorations, was hired to complete the project.
Pastor Wray Fanton, who began as the church's pastor in August, noted the regeneration happening in the church is partly due to community support shown through the Stand with the Steeple campaign. "One of the things I've learned since I got here was that music played through the steeple, and when it was disconnected, people missed it."
Fanton mentioned that the music was audible on the high school football field and that hunters could even hear the music in the woods. Since the steeple restoration was completed in the spring, a new music system has been installed and music can be heard again throughout Sherman.
The Sherman Community Church would like to thank everyone who helped and supported the church in fulfilling this effort.