RAYLAND - Razing the former Hopewell United Methodist Church along Jefferson 4 is progressing nicely, according to a church spokesperson.
The project, which involves construction of another building at the Hopewell Cemetery, began May 7 and will continue until June 30.
Described as a "reclaim-remake" project, it is a cooperative effort involving the Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning, Washington, D.C., and the Hopewell UMC with help from others.
Already removed from the church building, constructed in 1844, 17 years before the Civil War, are the chimney, oak floors, windows, interior tin ceiling tiles, plaster and the pulpit area. Asbestos removal from the basement floor tiles is being planned.
Some material from the old building will be used to build a commemorative open structure to be used for funeral services and by visitors to the Hopewell Cemetery, which is maintained by the Warren Township trustees. Materials not used will be sold to help in providing funds for the project, including the asbestos study and removal.
Oak from the building will be used in the present Hopewell church where there currently is vinyl flooring. That church now in use is nearby on Jefferson 16.
The spokesperson said five students and two instructors have been involved in the project, and another student is on the way.
Some 24 residents attended a recent meeting concerning the project. One man remembered attending services at the church, and his wedding ceremony also was performed there.
The building was abandoned more than 20 years ago. A plaque marking the church as a historic site was presented in 1986 by the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. Its history dates back to the 1780s.