Stonington action unlikely in wake of decision by officials at St. Michael's
Stonington - Building Official Wayne Greene said Monday that he does not anticipate he will need to take any formal action with St. Michael the Archangel Church in Pawcatuck because church officials closed the building on their own accord after learning of structural problems.
Greene said he was trying to reach the Rev. Dennis Perkins, the church's pastor, on Monday to discuss the closure and to review the engineering study that led to the action. Greene said he would also have to review any plans for repairs in order to issue a building permit.
Greene said he knew that the church had hired an engineering firm to examine issues with the building but was as surprised as others in the community to learn Sunday that the church building would close after its morning Masses.
The church, which has been in existence for more than 150 years, closed because it was deemed unsafe to keep using the building until the supports for the roof and ceiling can be fixed.
Perkins said Sunday the parish will now decide whether to begin the repairs, build a new church or, perhaps, consolidate with three other local churches and construct a church in a central location that they could all use.
Until then, parishioners of St. Michael will attend St. Mary Church in the borough. St. Michael School, which is located across Liberty Street from the church, remains in operation.
The leaders of St. Michael parish asked an engineering firm with experience in church restoration - Gibble Norden Champion and Brown Consulting Engineers in Old Saybrook - to survey the buildings on the campus so the church can plan for the future. Anticipating the repairs that would be needed, they began fundraising in the fall and gathered $1.5 million in pledges.
On Friday, the firm told the church that the support system for the roof and ceiling was structurally unsound and that it would not be safe to continue using the building.