FLORENCE, S.C. – Central United Methodist Church is taking its service on the road for eight weeks this summer while crews work to repair, restore and otherwise fix the sanctuary to withstand another 100-plus years of services.
The church in downtown Florence was established in 1870 and was rebuilt three times following two fires and a tornado. The current sanctuary was constructed in 1913.
The work on the sanctuary follows work to clean the outside protectors for the church's stained glass, said Philip Maenza, director of communications for the church.
In addition to wear from the passage of time, the sanctuary also suffered some damage from the spate of hurricanes that have hit Florence in the past few years.
Maenza said the church was able to prevent the damage from spreading and becoming worse than it was initially. It will be repaired along with the work of cleaning, painting and restoring the sanctuary.
"This is our commitment to the building at Central and making sure it is at its best," Maenza said of the project, which kicked off Monday.
Sunday was the last service in the sanctuary for the next eight weeks. During that time the church will gather for one service at 11 a.m. each Sunday at another location in Florence.
The church's casual service, The Well, will continue on its regular schedule in the Davis Center, he said.
"We're painting it. We're getting some floor fixed," Maenza said. "We're literally taking out all the pews and fixing everything. Any scuff, anything we're completely redoing."
The pews, he said, are not original to the congregation's first building but are historic in themselves.
Maenza said the goal is to be back in the sanctuary by the second week of September.
"About the time our fall classes start," he said.