When I go to church these days, I have to walk on makeshift sidewalks alongside walls of plywood boards that surround a construction area, and underneath heavy-duty scaffolding that juts out over the building’s front steps and up to the base of the steeple. When Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was built by German immigrants 100 years ago, it stood alone on the block; now luxury condominiums are boxing us in.
A preservationist says it will cost $8 million to repair our church, give or take a million. The stained glass windows have already been removed because of the danger of breakage during the construction next door. The steeple alone, leaning to one side, will cost over a million to repair. “It’s a substantial building,” the preservationist said when he delivered the news. Sometimes I curse this substantial building as an albatross, a black hole, a money pit.