Freemasons Dedicate Trinity Episcopal Church Cornerstone
Chapel will reopen Dec. 5.
When renovations started at Trinity Episcopal Church, parishioners carried hymnals and several copies of the Book of Common Prayer out of the main chapel into an adjacent hall to make way for construction crews.
And when the newly renovated sanctuary reopens on Dec. 5, the congregation will do the opposite, said the Rev. Gina Walsh-Minor. To celebrate the new chapel, the congregation will walk to the sanctuary in a procession, carrying these books and returning them to their original positions.
Yesterday around 100 members of the congregation watched a cornerstone-laying ceremony at the newly renovated sanctuary, performed by state freemasons.
"It's been an incredible coming-together of the community," Walsh-Minor said of the ceremony. "A real gift from God."
The order first marched in a procession down North Avenue East, which was blocked off temporarily by Cranford Police. The procession terminated at the church.
Before laying the new 2010 cornerstone in place, officials also situated a time capsule behind the stone containing, among other items, photos of the church throughout the 20th century, newspaper clippings of articles focusing on the church, a 1922 silver dollar and a set of New Jersey state quarters minted in 1999.
Presided over by the New Jersey Grand Master Joseph H. Rival Jr., a symbolic freemason ritual then took place. The freemasons tested the strength of the stone with various masonry tools. Corn was then spread over the stone to represent nourishment and wine to represent refreshment. Finally, members poured a small amount of oil over the stone, symbolizing peace and joy.
With the cornerstone in place, the final steps of the renovation will roll out in the fall. Church officials expect that the pews, pulpit and lectern will be installed in the next two weeks. These pieces will be stained a chestnut color to match the interior of the church. A week later, an air conditioner system will grace the sanctuary.
On the three rooftop spires, three celtic crosses will be erected in early October, and treads will be placed on stairways in the preceding weeks.
After all construction is done, the refurbished organ will be reinstalled in a four-week process in November, according to parishioner John Zebrowski, a project manager for the renovation.
Public Relations Director Tom Kaercher added that the church's new look is similar to its original design. First erected in the 1870s, the church was subsequently altered during the 1900s. Several years ago, the building experienced a structural failure that necessitated a renovation.
"We wanted to do this for the (benefit of the) next four or five generations," Kaercher said.