Oldest church in Rich Hill gets new roof

Oldest church in Rich Hill gets new roof
The Rev. Tony Hinds stands in front of the copper shingle roof of the 136-year-old Church of the Resurrection in Richmond Hill. Photo by Joe Anuta
By Joe Anuta

The oldest church in Richmond Hill is getting a new addition.

The Church of the Resurrection, at 85-09 118th St., will celebrate the completion of its new copper roof next month, which looks similar to the original.

“This is a historic building,” said the Rev. Tony Hinds. “And we needed to build the roof to keep it a historic site.”

And Hinds was not speaking figuratively.

The church is 136 years old and is on the federal and state lists of historic sites. The front of the church also boasts an original, 100-year-old stained glass window depicting four archangels and houses the original pipe organ.

The inside of the church is walled with dark wooden beams and the floor built with dark red tile, which gives the structure a certain ambiance, according to Ro Pfeuffer, the parish and facilities administrator.

“When people come in, they can feel the history,” she said. “It feels special.”

And several community groups think so, too.

The structure is part of the New York Landmark Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program and is often a stop on walking tours led by the Richmond Hill Historical Society.

“We are always a part of that, and we’re happy to do it,” Pfeuffer said. “Every Sunday we have people visiting.”

But to remain a part of history, the church’s new roof had to fit into old guidelines.

“Because we’re listed as a historic site, we are eligible for grants,” Hinds said.

In this case, the church was offered a $10,000 grant from the landmarks conservancy to install the copper shingles on the roof, according to the conservancy’s web site.

The building is not landmarked by the city and thus not subject to the strict rules governing modifications. Hinds could have put up any kind of roof he wanted to.

But anything other than the copper roof meant that the church would lose its status as a historical site.

Although Hinds wants to keep the church on the list, he conceded that the building’s historic walls are not what really hold the church together. It is about the parishioners.

“Let’s say our congregation moved,” he said. “Look at how many storefront churches we have in New York City. And they’re packed.”

The church will celebrate its 136th anniversary and the completion of the new roof May 14.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.

More from Around New York