In July of 2016, the Corporation (the Incumbent and Wardens) of Christ Church, Bolton, were informed of significant deterioration of our bell tower. To prevent further damage, Corporation decided to discontinue ringing the bell and to consult professional historical restoration firms about repairing the tower.
Unfortunately, with the departure of the incumbent and the demands of our Allan Drive property, Corporation was unable to attend to the matter.
In the spring of 2018, our new Incumbent, the Rev. Don Beyers, met with the wardens to review and discuss the physical, financial, and spiritual health of the parish. At that time the wardens shared with him what they knew about the deterioration of the tower. Rev. Beyers immediately informed the Synod Office of the Diocese of Toronto and the parish Corporation agreed to consult with diocesan recommended historical engineers and construction firms. Parish vestry was also informed of the urgent need to repair the tower before further decay.
After inquiring with potential engineering firms in the early summer of 2018, Corporation selected Honeycomb Engineering based upon their extensive experience with other churches in the diocese and their affordability. Mr. Wesley Peter, an engineer with Honeycomb, visited the parish on two occasions — once in late summer and again in the fall and thoroughly inspected the tower. While Mr. Peter assured the Corporation that there is no threat to the structural integrity of the tower, he strongly advised the parish to repair the damage as soon as possible. In his opinion, further delay would only weaken the structure and increase costs.
Mr. Peter’s findings were presented to vestry at our annual vestry meeting. The parish vestry agreed to proceed with Mr. Peter and Gillanders Construction in securing quotes from subcontractors and providing an estimate cost for the total repair. That work was completed in June of this year.
Proposed Options for Repair
After much time and work, Mr. Peter and Ms. Karen Fitzgerald of Gillanders Construction met with Rev. Beyers and Ms. Janet Niedoba, People’s Warden, and presented three options for consideration. All restoration work would be completed according to historic methods to ensure longevity of the repairs. (Previous brick-work repair was not completed according to historic methods which resulted in a shorter lifetime of the repairs.)
Repair and Restore the Tower
The first option addressed our initial concern, namely the repair and restoration of the bell tower. In addition to repairing and restoring the bell tower, the bell tower entrance would be redone to comply with current code and made fully accessible. The total cost of this repair would be $68,615 plus HST. This is a bit higher than the initial estimate of $50,000. (Christ Church Bolton – Bell Tower Repair Budget)
Repair and Restore Tower and Back Wall Exterior Masonry
The second option includes the repair and restoration of the bell tower as well as the repair of the exterior brick work of the north wall. In addition, the sidewalk along the building would be redone so as to prevent water damage to the building. The total cost of this work would be $113,715 plus HST. (Christ Church Bolton – Budget – complete scope)
Repair and Restore the Tower Now and Repair Back Wall Exterior Masonry Later
The third, and final proposal, is to complete the bell tower repair work now and repair and repair the back wall exterior masonry later. We would pay the $68,615 plus HST now, and the later work would cost roughly $84,938 plus HST at today’s rate. Potential costs for the rear exterior wall repair would of course increase as the brick work would further deteriorate with further wear and damage. (Christ Church Bolton – Exterior Masonry & Sidewalk Repair budget)
Mr. Peter noted the rear wall should be repaired within 5 years. After that time the structural integrity of the wall will potentially be undermined.
Mr. Peter’s and Ms. Fitzgerald’s recommendation was for us to complete all of the work now, thereby preventing further damage and save on total costs as the firms can take advantage of having their crews and subcontractors already here for the bell tower work.
Obviously, all three options present a significant financial commitment on behalf of the parish vestry. Although there was some fundraising a few years ago, there has been no formal campaign. Parish vestry will have to decide how best to proceed.
Fortunately, the parish has considerable assets dedicated to its longterm heritage. At present, the parish has around $200,000 in a Heritage investment fund. Additionally, the parish has an estimated $10,395 in a bell tower fund.
Last spring, Rev. Beyers met with the Heritage Fund committee. At that time the committee graciously committed $25,000 to the repair and restoration of the tower with the understanding the parish would replenish those funds over the coming years.
Additionally, Rev. Beyers has been in conversation with the Town of Caledon about Heritage Grant offered by the city. If the parish submits an application to the grant, and was awarded the grant, the parish could potentially receive up to a $4,500 grant. This, however, is not guaranteed.
As the Heritage Fund committee has only granted $25,000 from that fund, and the parish has a limited amount in it’s bell tower fund, the parish will have to fundraise the remaining amount within a limited period of time. The fundraising amount would be at minimum a total of $40,000.
At present, our budget is:
Heritage Fund: $25,000
Bell Tower Fund: $10,395
Fundraising: $40,000 (Dependent on final costs.)
Fundamentally, for this to work, the parish vestry would need to commit itself to an aggressive fundraising campaign. To achieve this, vestry would need to form a committee dedicated to planning and organizing all fundraising activities.
Vestry would also need to be attentive to the impact of the campaign upon its annual stewardship campaign and ensure financial stewardship sustains parish ministry and operating budget, while at the same time raise funds for the tower.
Recommendation of Corporation
After much discussion and consideration, the Corporation (wardens and incumbent) recommends the first option. Vestry would need to give its consent before commencing with the first option.
Per requirements of the canons of the Diocese of Toronto, Rev. Beyers consulted our area bishop, Rt. Rev. Jenny Andison, and she has given her support of the warden’s recommendation for the first option.
Repair and restoration of the bell tower is an absolute must. The integrity of our church structure is dependent upon the stability of the tower. This has been known for several years and the parish will need to address the tower soon, otherwise we will have to discuss our longterm vitality.
Moreover, the tower serves both a historic purpose and a tool for inviting the community to our church. If we commence with a successful campaign, we could potentially engage the larger Caledon community and cultivate a greater awareness of who we are as a church community. A campaign could be a good opportunity for us to increase visibility, invite others to share in our ministry, and perhaps grow our community as well.
However, for all that to succeed, the entire parish vestry would need to be involved and committed to the campaign’s success.
As such, the following motions are brought forward for the parish vestry’s consideration.
Motions for Vestry’s Consideration & Adoption
First Motion: It is moved by Janet Niedoba, Juergen Schmelzer, and Kim Smith, that the parish accept the first option for repairing the bell tower for $78,000 (tax included).
Second Motion: It is further moved by Janet Niedoba that the threshold for the Heritage Fund be set to $150,000 and the excess funds be transferred as soon as possible to the bell tower fund.
Third Motion: It is further moved by Kim Smith that the funding of the bell tower repair consists of the following:
$50,000 Heritage Fund
$15,000 Community-wide Fundraising Campaign
$10,000 Currently in Bell Tower Fund
And we will apply to the Town of Caledon for the grant of $4,500 towards historic building restoration. The total restoration and repair budget therefore is $75,000 with a potential $4,500 from the Town.
Fourth Motion: Finally, it is moved by Juergen Schmelzer that the parish form a committee to spearhead the bell tower fundraising campaign.