TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: 200-year-old church restored for $6 million - EntornoInteligente

Entornointeligente.com / News day / Local Moderator of St Ann’s Church of Scotland Reverend Garwell Bacchas, the chief celebrant at yesterday’s rededication ceremony told Newsday that the congregation was “very excited” that the major restoration works have been completed, but the cost was just over $6 million.

Restoration works on the pipe organ, which was installed in 1914 and first played on August 9 the same year, is due to begin within the next two weeks, Bacchas said.

The occasion involved the Sangre Grande and Arouca churches and the St Ann’s sanctuary could not accommodate all those who attended so that some persons were accommodated in the church yard.

Marking the occasion with the local congregation were from Scotland the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend (Rev) Lorna Hood who unveiled the rededication plaque; Clerk of the Geneva-based Presbytery of Europe, Rev Jim Sharp; Rev Elisabeth Cranfield of Methihill and Denbeat Parish Church with which the local church is twinned, and Twinning and Development Officer, World Missions Carol Finlay.

Also present was Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel who brought greetings on behalf of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and congratulated those involved in the restoration works and for the achievement. He noted what could be achieved if people put their minds and hearts together.

According to Elder Ray Sumairsingh, who gave an overview of the restoration, work began on the roof of the church in July 2008 by the firm Construction, Restoration and Maintenance Services Ltd. However, it soon became evident that the problem extended beyond the roof and would entail stripping and re-plastering all the interior walls, as well as replacing most of the close boarding on the ceiling.

“As is usually the case with the restoration of old buildings, the progress was slow and the scope of work kept growing, not to mention the cost,” Sumarsingh said.

A brief history of the church, which got its name on account of its location, notes that the original church was built in May 1854 by members who were mainly Portuguese refugees fleeing persecution from Madeira for professing the Protestant faith. The land was bought for the sum of $800.

In 1894 the construction of an entirely new building began. It was completed and dedicated in 1895. During 1995 to 1997 the original slate roof had been replaced.

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