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Restoring, preserving historic church in Montrose

It's a community-wide effort to renovate a church that dates back to the 1800s in Susquehanna County.

MONTROSE, Pa. — Cindy Beeman describes it as a leap of faith: taking on the task of restoring a centuries-old church while also preserving its history.

"We're actually returning to the color that it was for the first 70 years," she said as she showed Newswatch 16 around the former Montrose United Methodist Church.

Beeman heads up another staple in the community, the Susquehanna County Interfaith, which is renovating the landmark building.

"It's been a center for the community since the 1800s. Most people remember growing up and coming to this church for something," Beeman said.

Just this morning, a woman dropped off a photograph showing a group of children attending bible school at the church in 1945.

Credit: WNEP

The Susquehanna County Interfaith bought the building and will now use the space to house all of its operations, including its thrift store.

All of the profits from the store are used to support the organization's programs, such as emergency assistance and educational development. 

"So to be able to use it to continue to provide that hope and light is very exciting," Beeman said.

But the nonprofit organization is not alone in its desire to keep this piece of history alive. Volunteers in the community have been pitching in to help throughout the entire process.

"One of the most enduring parts for me is the fact that it's individuals that are giving and small businesses. We've raised about half the money that we need for this, based on just small gifts of $25, $50," Beeman said. "I think it just says that we're all working together to make our community better."

The goal is to have the renovation complete before the snow comes, but it'll certainly be by the end of the year.