In the Newa


Renovation begins at Hingham Congregational Church


The main goal of the project, which is expected to cost around $3 million, is to not only make the church more welcoming, but also safer. Like many old buildings, the interior was dark and dated and the foundation and structure of the building was falling apart, Blair said. Among the long list of renovations, the kitchen will be updated and brought up to health and safety codes, and both a new elevator and wheelchair ramp will be installed to make the church more accessible. In addition, central heat and air conditioning will be installed as well as an outdoor play space for children.

“We wanted to make the church welcoming and safe for many generations to come,” Blair said.

A search is on for the time capsule said to be buried on the church grounds when it was built. Builders and church members have scoured the area but have not yet uncovered the zinc box, the only clue to its whereabouts being a document saying its buried in a church corner stone. While there is a chance the box is actually cemented into the foundation, Blair hopes that the large construction equipment will dig it up.

Whether they find the box or not, a new time capsule will be buried under the church within the next couple of weeks, Debbie Edmundson, moderator for the church, said. The metal tube with include items from the church and its congregation, including a bulletin, t-shirt, and annual report.

Acella Construction, a construction management company for greater Boston and the South Shore, will oversee the project. Acella was selected for the project in part because of their experience renovating other historical buildings in town such as Old Derby Academy and Hingham Heritage Museum.

“Today, cultural, historic, and sacred places are an endangered species,” Diana Van Etten, Business development manager at Acella, said.

Through long term planning and a major capital campaign, the church has acquired approximately $2.4 million for the project. As the church raises more money, the project will be completed in phases and, if all goes well, will be finished by the spring of 2017.

In the meantime, Hingham Congregational Church members have been invited to worship at Old Ship Church down the road.

“The church is still a wonderful home,” Peter Allan, Senior Pastor, said, “despite the huge hole in the front and the fence.”