CANAAN–The Little Red Church at the corner of state Route 295 and county Route 5 was a community landmark, an iconic space and a symbol of faith for 190 years. Its total destruction in a fire November 6, 2017 was devastating to its members, the community and the extended family of Congregational Churches, all of whom wondered what the future held.
The Rev. Dr. Charles Close, pastor at Canaan Congregational Church, and Victoria Kosakowski, church moderator led the church family through the long, arduous task of determining the future of the church both physically and spiritually. In May 2018, the church membership voted to demolish the burned-out hulk and rebuild.
Next came the insurance company, reviewing architects and building engineers, and ultimately selecting a contractor. The results speak for themselves as the church moves toward groundbreaking and completion of a new church by this fall.
Among those selected and involved:
• Ann Vivian from Guillot, Vivian, Viehmann Architects in Burlington, VT. Ms. Vivian has degrees in architecture, fine arts and theology. She is a member of the Fellowship of Architects of United Church of Christ
• Tim Schroeder from Enginuity Engineering, an engineering and design firm based in Chatham. He will serve as construction manager
• Emco Construction in Guilderland, which specializes in commercial buildings and has worked on at least three houses of worship.
Interviewed after last Sunday’s services, Rev. Close said the bulk of the funding for a new church is coming from insurance. He added that there will be some fundraising this year, perhaps for both extras and necessities, but not requiring a full-scale, multi-year capital campaign.
Rev. Close reported the site will have some modest excavation.
The new church will sit on a slab foundation with a design intended to make congregants feel both comfortable and engaged. The space will not have traditional pews and will be used for a variety of community purposes going forward.