FAIR HAVEN: CHURCH COMES DOWN

fh church 101615 1img_3737100809The former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Fair Haven, seen in an archive photo at right, was razed this week as part of a plan by Kolarsick Builders of Rumson to construct three homes on the site, at the corner of River Road and Church Street.

The steepled church, built by volunteers in 1967, had seen its congregation dwindle, and was closed in 2009.

The ashes of 45 deceased parishoners interred in the church’s memorial garden were relocated to a cemetery in the Navesink section of Middletown in April, 2014. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

FAIR HAVEN: PLAN FOR CHURCH SITE WINS OK

fh church 100809 2The Episcopal Diocese plans to repurpose the windows of the church, which was built by volunteers in 1967. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh-churchA plan to demolish Fair Haven’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion won unanimous planning board approval Wednesday night.

The authorization, with no objections from the audience of about 10 onlookers, clears Kolarsick Builders of Rumson to raze the 48-year-old River Road church and two other structures and replace them with three homes.

“We understand it’s a landmark property,” said company principal Noah Kolarsick, who grew up in a house with a view of the church and still lives in town. But the church is “severely deteriorated,” and because it has no on-site parking, is impractical for use as a house of worship, he told redbankgreen Thursday.

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FAIR HAVEN: PLAN CALLS FOR RAZING CHURCH

img_3737100809The church, seen here and below in photos from 2009, would be replaced by three homes if a developer’s plan is approved. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD

fh church 100809 2Five and a half years after congregants celebrated their last mass there, Fair Haven’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion could be torn down.

A developer’s plan raze the steepled River Road structure and replace it with it three homes goes before the borough planning board Wednesday night.

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SADNESS AND BITTERNESS MARK CLOSING

img_3737100809The church property, which includes adjoining buildings, will be put up for sale, officials say. (Click pix to enlarge)

Among the remains of 45 congregants lying beneath a tree in the memorial garden at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Fair Haven are those of Ann Dupree’s late husband. She interred them there after his death three years ago.

What to do with his ashes is one of more wrenching decisions to be made by the three dozen or so surviving parishoners of the River Road church as it nears its final mass, on October 24, before the doors are locked and the property goes on the market.

But it is just one element of a winding-down that has left congregants depressed, somewhat lost and more than a little angry, they admit.

“I was married here,” said Dupree, a senior citizen and member of the vestry who’s been attending Holy Communion for some 40 years. “I thought I’d be buried here.”

fh-holy-communion-tri1Pastor Nancy Speck reads from an 1885 entry in the church registry, left; the original church, which was demolished in 1967 because of a termite infestation; and the interior of the present church on the same site. (Click to enlarge)

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FAIR HAVEN CHURCH TO END 125-YEAR RUN

cimg98411007091The River Road church’s doors will be locked by the end of the month and the property will be put up for sale. (Click photos to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion will shut its doors later this month, ending more than a century of mission, redbankgreen has learned.

cimg98421007091The planned closing imperils a privately owned preschool on church property, impacting 55 students and dozens of families, though Mayor Mike Halfacre says local officials are trying to expedite approvals for a new location.

The church’s vestry — the managing body of Episcopal churches — decided Sepember 9 to shut down the River Road landmark because it is no longer viable, with more than a half-dozen Episcopal churches in the area, according to the pastor, Rev. Nancy Speck.

Its last Mass will be held on Oct0ber 24, the church’s 125th anniversary, said Speck.

“It’s going to be very bittersweet,” she said. “This has been a wonderful church.”

Because of the closing, two people will automatically step into the state’s long unemployment line: Speck, who lives in Point Pleasant, and the church’s maintenance worker. But it may also trigger a domino effect of bad news for greater Fair Haven.
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