Leaking Beacon Street steeple to be replaced by Christmas
Beacon Street Baptist Church expects to have a new steeple by Christmas.
A recurring leak prompted the congregation to make the tough decision to replace the steeple at the church on west Beacon Street.
“We’ve had small leaks that gradually got worse and worse to the point that we had to redo our foyer four of five times over the last few years,” said George Shaw, Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and who has been in the church more than three decades.
They made efforts to address the leaks but to no avail. Shaw said the congregation voted to replace the steeple by an overwhelming 95 percent, but it was emotional for some in the nearly 80-year-old congregation.
“Everybody was sad to see it go,” Shaw said. “It’s a part of Philadelphia, but to keep our church stable we had to do a major repair.”
In June, the church ordered a new fiberglass steeple, slightly smaller at eight feet wide and 30 feet tall, from a company in Alabama. The new steeple is expected to arrive by Christmas.
The removal of the old steeple was a weeklong process, concluding on a Monday that’s left a temporary void on the west end.
Services scheduled for Wednesday were not disrupted and were held in the Fellowship Hall.
“The steeple coming down was very emotional for me,” said Jenny Lynn Wilkerson. “It has been there as long as I can remember, and I started going to Beacon Street as a child.
“I know the steeple needed repairing or replacing, but I think the old grand steeple was a ministry in a different kind of way, coming from Depot Hill and seeing it rise above everything,” she said. “My hope is that the new steeple, although somewhat smaller, will continue to provide that same ministry.”
Once the steeple was removed, they took steps to repair the roof, laying new black felt and covering it with a tarp until the entire roof can be replaced.
To address other leaks in the church, they are also installing new shingles throughout the entire building before putting up the new steeple and constructing a new foyer, Shaw said.