A Clinton Hill church is getting a holy handout.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded a $40,000 grant to Brown Memorial Baptist Church in late January to help the house of worship restore its damaged stained-glass window. But the chapel could lose another, much larger chunk of change if it does not raise another 50 grand by June.
“We’re going to request an extension,” said Beverly Jacobs, who is helping to organize fund-raising efforts to save the window. “We do have some wiggle room — thank god.”
The 150-year-old church on Gates Avenue at Washington Avenue needs $325,000 to repair the historic and water-damaged window called “The Pilgrims.” Last year, the congregation won a grant for $200,000 from Partners in Preservation, a national organization that works to preserve historic buildings. But if the congregation is unable to raise the full amount by June, the group could rescind the cash offer.
That would be a crying shame, according to a representative for the church’s latest benefactor.
“We see religious institutions as institutions that aid their communities,” said Colleen Heemeyer, grants manager for the preservationist group. “You really can’t do that if you’re worrying about your building.”
So far the church has raised $275,000 and is planning more last-ditch money-making activities in the coming weeks.
The window depicts a pair of pilgrims approaching an angel surrounded by a psalm from Exodus. It means a lot to congregants.
“The church itself is very symbolic to our congregation,” said Jacobs. “What we’re doing in our community should be reflected in our building.”
The window is one of 12 in the church made by Tiffany Studios, the famed glass makers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The elements have caused parts of the window to start buckling and some glass pieces have fallen out, Jacobs said. Architects are confident the window can be fully restored, but they have to wait until the weather gets better before beginning work, she said.
The church made major renovations to the roof of the building in 2006 and to the interior in 2011.
“We’re always interested in maintaining the original beauty of the church,” said Rev. Clinton Miller, the church’s pastor. “We try to balance the aesthetic of our ministry with the human aspects. It allows us to look good while we do good things.”
The church has an online fund-raising campaign going, but at press time it had only netted $71.