The Church of the Messiah, the oldest Episcopal parish on Cape Cod, has successfully raised more than $2.7 million during its capital campaign to transform its First Church structure, built in 1852, into a new, modern and welcoming Parish and Community Center, the church announced in an April 12 news release.
During the four and a half years of the campaign, 354 individuals, families and foundations contributed money and pledges, providing the funds necessary to renovate the First Church into a community center and the administrative offices for the church. Handicapped-accessible pathways between the new center and the Stone Church will be installed this summer.
“We are deeply grateful to all those individuals, families and foundations that supported the campaign and have made possible this splendid new community and parish resource,” the Rev. Deborah Warner, the rector of the Church of the Messiah, said in the news release. “The outpouring of support from Woods Hole as well as the greater Falmouth community has made clear our valued role as a village church and a resource for many organizations.”
The Fisher House, where the church’s community and administrative center was located for 50 years, was sold to a private homeowner in 2018, with the sale proceeds adding to the Church of the Messiah’s endowment fund.
“Selling Fisher House and replacing it with an energy efficient building has allowed us to reduce operating expenses,” Terry Soares, chair of the Building Committee, said in the release. “The change also made it possible to consolidate the Messiah campus on the same side of Church Street, beneficial as a safety measure and for activities involving both buildings such as weddings and funerals.”
The Parish and Community Center has been closed to public events during the pandemic, but it will be reopened as soon as possible, church leaders have said. The closure did facilitate making some final improvements, especially sound modifications to enhance the acoustics of the Woods Hole Room, the community space on the second floor. “We are excited to welcome again into this wonderful center the many community organizations and events as well as parish activities,” Warner said.
The Church of the Messiah is continuing to live-stream Sunday 10 a.m. services. Further information and a video featuring the new center are available at www.churchofthemessiahwoodshole.org.