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Steeple Removal Announcement

As the date for the steeple removal draws near, it is time to inform the congregation about some things to expect and how to help the process go as smoothly and safely as possible.

Countless hours of surveying, measuring, drawing, meetings, engineering, planning and restless nights have gone into bringing us to this point. Every effort has been made to identify all of the risks and safety procedures that should be incorporated into the operational plan to insure success and avoid harm to people or property. That said, it is important to bear in mind that there will be no one involved on the part of Winter Park Baptist Church or Edwards Crane that has ever dismantled a steeple of this complexity and brought it to ground. Beginning with the man-basket being lifted to the peak of the spire on the morning of Sept 21 to identify an attachment point for the crane rigging, there will be a certain amount of discovery and adaptation involved with each step of the process.

Secondly, there will be a considerable amount of equipment in the parking lot to accomplish the work. There will be two cranes and a tender truck, all of which are the size of 18-wheeler semi’s. There will be additional service trucks, pickup trucks and multiple roll-off trash or recycling containers on site. Also needed will be open space to place the three steeple components as they are brought down.

In consideration of the above factors, the following restrictions need to be observed to avoid interfering with the efficiency or compromising the safety of the operations:

The church-side parking lot on Park Ave will be closed to all vehicles and personnel who are not essential to the work. The drive-around from Wrightsville Ave will be blocked off as well.
Activities in Central Building or the Pre-School building should not be scheduled for the week of Sept 21- 25. At those times when steeple sections are being detached and lifted, the above two buildings as well as the Sanctuary will be cleared of all personnel.
It is permissible to park and view from the lot immediately South of Park Ave. It is also permissible to view from the grassy area behind the dumpsters near the Community Center and to enter the CC building through that same area. Additionally, there will probably be a live-feed broadcast from the webcams in place, at least for the first two days.

When we went up on the steeple in the aftermath of Florence almost exactly two years ago, it was with optimism and hope that we would be securing it for later repairs and refurbishment to its original magnificence. Instead, as we now undertake the sad, risky  and exhausting task of removing the steeple, it is with regret and sober frame of mind that we do so.

This is not yet the time for celebration but rather a time for the congregation to come together and concentrate on praying for safety and success in the near term and on discernment for God’s plan for us when this tumultuous period is behind us. Please continue to offer your support and hold us in your prayers through the coming few weeks.

Steve Rosser
Properties and Ground Committee

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