First Congregational works to repair roof

MANISTEE — Since its construction 122 years ago, Manistee First Congregational Church has been dedicated to serving the community.

For the last several years, that mission had been complicated by the water dripping through their slate roof and leaking into the building’s 122-year-old brick and plaster walls.

The church has been diligent about performing regular maintenance, and recently did an interior renovation.

Ron Sluis, moderator and governing board chair, said, “This building has historical significance and maintaining it is important to our congregation and to the community. It was for this reason that the Glass, Sticks and Bricks fund was created at the Manistee Community Foundation. People who contribute to this fund know that it’s only purpose is maintaining a Manistee landmark.”

The leaking roof jeopardized all that hard work.

The church entrusted the roof project to the Durable Slate Company. To return the roof to a water-tight condition, they fabricated custom copper flashings and performed repairs to the slate and underlayment in the area behind the clock tower.

In addition, Durable Slate conducted a full examination of the rest of the roof and outlined a multi-year plan for repairing and restoring the roof.

“The slate roof repair over the next few years is key to maintaining this beautiful structure,” Sluis said. “Before the roof was repaired there were numerous leaks that were causing major structural damage to the walls.”

The company believes that about 95 percent of the roof is still the original roofing material from more than 100 years ago.

Judd Brown, chair of the property committee, said, “I have been impressed with the way Durable Slate was able to assess the roof’s status and develop a multi-year plan that insures its structural integrity. With their help our roof will last another 100 years.”

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