From the Times Ledger:
College Point’s First Reformed Church reopened last weekend with its first Sunday worship service in nearly a year and a half following a June 6, 2008, fire that engulfed its steeple and caused major damage to its main sanctuary.
A congregation of nearly 50 parishioners turned out Sunday morning for the service, at which the Rev. Linda Burlew Gold rededicated the church’s refurbished building.
The church, at 118-01 14th Ave. in College Point, had been waiting for an inspection following months of reconstruction on the steeple and sanctuary that was completed in July. The city had placed a vacate order at the site shortly after the blaze as a result of water and smoke damage.
It was unclear how the fire at the church started.
But a city Department of Buildings inspector gave the church a favorable report in late October.
Burlew Gold said the reconstruction project went through numerous permits and licenses, frustrating its dedicated congregation.
The church has not missed a single Sunday service since the fire and has held services at a number of sites, including the church’s lawn and for the past 17 months in its smaller, attached chapel. Its ministries, which include 12-step program meetings and a food pantry, have also not been interrupted.
Most of the damage to the church was covered by insurance, so the church paid less than $10,000 for its reconstruction costs, Burlew Gold said.
The church dates back to 1871. Regular worship services began soon after and the church was dedicated Sept. 28, 1873. The families of some of its parishioners have been attending the church for four generations.