Churchgoers to be Uplifted

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Photo by Lester Smith

A planned project at the First Church will provide ADA accessibility throughout the building’s several levels. A new elevator will be installed between the original part of the building, at left above, and the newer wing. An exterior ramp from the sidewalk to the sanctuary level of the old building was added over a decade ago.

Folks who visit Suffield’s First Congregational Church will soon be offered an uplift that has been missing, no matter how moving the sermon might be. Recognizing the building’s role as a significant community venue as well as a place of worship, the church plans to install an elevator. Well, technically it’s not an elevator, it’s categorized as a lift, but it will provide convenient access to the multiple levels of the building. The project, whose motto is “Lifting up our community,” will include updated bathrooms with accessibility options and other needed maintenance.

The lift, called a LULA by its manufacturer, for “Limited Use, Limited Access,” will stop at four levels: the lower level for Fellowship Hall; the old main floor level for the sanctuary and the Ebenezer Gay Room; the next level for the business office, nursery, school rooms, and chapel; and the top floor for the pastors’ offices, conference room and another school room.

Located between the original church building, built in 1869, and the wing added to the north end in 1956, the lift will have doors on two sides, as the levels of the north wing do not align with the original building. 

It is expected that the entire project will cost somewhat more than $1M, of which more than half has already been pledged by the congregation. In May, the capital campaign was extended into the community.

With the project already begun, the Suffield Cooperative Pre-School has moved temporarily to the quarters in Second Baptist Church vacated when the Begin Pre-School closed. The principal spaces of the church will remain accessible during most of the work.

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