WARWICK, RI — Nearly a year after Woodbury Union Church was engulfed in fire, the parish has gutted it, and a benefit concert Sunday, 3 p.m. at St. Benedict’s Church will help fund ongoing restoration.
Full restoration of the church, burnt out Thanksgiving eve, is expected this spring, said Gary Christensen, finance director on Woodbury Union’s board of elders.
“It’s going to happen. It’s just a question of when,” Christensen said.
The parish has already collected nearly $100,000 in donations to help them bring the church back, which will likely be used for items not covered by the group’s insurance, such as pews, a piano, and other interior church furnishings, he said. The rebuilt church will also need a sprinkler system, which will add to the restoration project’s price tag.
Christensen said they’ve received a heartwarming outpouring of support from the community, including from people who don’t belong to the church but who recognize the good that it has done for people.
“It’s really humbling to see the outpouring of good will,” he said, “We didn’t realize how many people we touched.”
When they began fundraising for the rebuilding effort, they thought raising $100,000 would be great, Christensen said. Now, they may need another $50,000 to $100,000.
“That would really help us out,” he said.
So when Lincoln Smith, organizer of Lakewood Baptist Church’s annual Benefit Concert for the RI Food Bank, offered to organize area church choirs to benefit their cause two months ago, it was well received.
“I have spent the last two months putting this together. I’m so excited that it will take place on Sunday. Hope to see you there, and God Bless you all,” Smith said of the fundraiser.
Those taking part in concert are:
- Woodbury Union Church (Lorrie Simons, Director, Church Choir)
- Woodbury Ringers
- One Voice
- Warwick Central Baptist Church (Dr. Donald St. Jean, Director
- Natasha Goncharova, Pianist, Church Choir)
- Acoaxet Chapel PraiseTeam from Westport, MA
- St. Benedict’s Church (Paul Gormly, Music Director and his daughter Kelly Mallon, soloist for St. Benedict’s Choir)
- St. Kevin’s Church (Brianna Callahan,16, pianist and singer, a cantor at St. Kevin’s, will perform two songs that she wrote herself.
- Bayside Beat
Woodbury Union Benefit Concert
Sunday, Sept. 22, 3 p.m.
St. Benedict’s, 135 Beach Ave., Warwick, RI.
- At least one non-perishable food item for St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
- A free will offering will be taken to help the rebuilding fund.
Refreshments will be served after the concert.