Bedford Park Congregational Church has been designated a sacred site by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
The Landmarks Conservancy announced the designation, along with 22 others awarded sacred site grants totaling $294,000.
“You don’t have to be religious to understand that religious institutions contain some of our finest art and architecture,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “Many also provide vital social service programs and cultural activities that make significant contributions to their communities.”
The church provides space for several Alcoholic Anonymous groups, Girl Scouts and Sunday School, and worship space for three other congregations, including a Korean church, a 7th Day Adventist congregation, and a Pentecostal Ambassadors for Christ congregation.
Breen said the Bedford Park church was pledged a $25,000 sacred site challenge grant toward replace asbestos-laden shingles and replace the roof of the historic church.
“A past grant aided with planning and oversight of this project, along with emergency roof repairs to help the congregation gain additional time needed for fund raising,” Breen said.
The church was organized in 1889 to serve the then railroad suburb of Bedford Park.
The fieldstone clad church was designed by architect Edgar Bourne and was built from 1891 to 1892.
The City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the church a historic landmark.
The church’s minister, Rev. Christopher Ponnuraj said everyone involved with the parish is very enthusiastic about receiving the grant.
“We are a very small congregation and we would like to keep this project alive,” Ponnuraj said. “We will begin repair work in April or May of 2013.”
“We started this project two years ago to save money to fix our roof , which was very bad, and it grew from there. Now we have made it a mission to fund raise and match the grant money we receive. We are like a family and we work together.”
On Sunday, September 30, the church will host a dinner and concert beginning at 3 p.m. The cost will be $30 per plate and all of the proceeds will go towards repairs.
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394