New roof installed at nearly 100-year-old church in Harrison
A Harrison church that stands four stories high and sits prominently along Freeport Road this month received a $44,000 makeover in the form of a new roof.
“It was necessary,” said Walter Rutkowski, chairman of the board of directors of Grace United Methodist Church. “Someone passing through the CVS drive-thru called the office on a windy day to report flapping shingles.”
The nearly 100-year-old church is adjacent to the pharmacy at 1333 Freeport Road.
Workers from Whalen Contracting in New Kensington carried out the work and confirmed that some of the shingles had blown off, said Rutkowski, a member of the church for 22 years and chairman of the board for about 17 years.
The roofing project took about a week. It was paid for, in part, by grants from the Ira and Frances Wood Charitable Trust and the estate of late church member Jean Shumaker.
Grace United Methodist was founded in a small white building along Pleasantville Road, which is nearby and leads to Burtner Road and Highway 28.
It moved to its current location in 1928.
At its peak, the church had a congregation of hundreds. It has a unique rooftop space where it hosted dance parties for teens in the 1960s and 1970s. Since at least the mid-1980s, the church has housed the Agape Thrift Store to help people shop for clothes and household items at a great price.
The flea market is located in the basement of the church and is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.
“It was a great work of God to get us the roof,” said Pastor Diane Randolph. “We expect more great works from God.”
Randolph was named church leader last year and has settled into the business of getting to know the people, the community and the needs, she said.
Late last fall, Randolph and church leaders reached out to a Kittanning-based ministry, Harvest Churchto share space in the Freeport Road building.
Grace has Sunday services at 9:30 a.m.; The harvest follows at 11 a.m.