Building Restoration Project

UMA Capital Campaign 

Our church is in need of expensive brick work in order to maintain its stability as a structure.

Our goals and desired outcomes for this project fall under three areas:

 1.     Preservation

Preservation of our church is our highest priority for this project.  The church is included as part of the “Aurora Village-Wells College Historic District” in the National Register of Historic Places.  The first church, a wooden structure, was built in 1818-1819. It was dismantled, and its lumber was sold to help finance the brick successor, our current church, in 1860. The foundation is Onondaga limestone from the quarries just south of Union Springs. The brick was made at the Carr Brickyard at Carr’s Cove. A clock was installed in 1865 and Ethan McCormick is its current tender. In 1969, after United Ministry was formed, the interior of the church was renovated. As part of this renovation, three stained-glass windows were moved from the Episcopal Church to what is now the social room. 

Pictures included as supplemental files show the damage to our church due to over 200 years of lakeside weather.  The building’s continued survival requires the preservation work that we have hired R.E. Kelley, Inc. to complete for us.  We have included a picture of a completed section to show the quality of their work and the difference it will make to the continued health of our church structure. 

2.   Visibility in Aurora and Beyond

Our church already has a level of visibility in the Aurora Community.  Our clock rings every hour, except at night when its tender, Ethan McCormick, climbs the steeple stairs to manually turn it off to avoid disturbing neighbors. The social room is used for community events such as senior lunches.  This room is also used for other educational events open to the community, such as book discussions, presentations by Wells College faculty and presentations on other topics of interest to the community, such as the needs of local farmworkers. 

We are keenly aware, however, that we remain invisible to many.  We believe that gaining an Emerson Grant will help gain some recognition as an important member of the Cayuga County community.  

As part of our capital campaign, we decided to first go to members of the congregation and neighbors for pledges.  That part of our campaign was quite successful, leading to $115,000 in pledges. But, they can give no more.  Our second planned phase, which included applying for an Emerson Foundation grant, will have a memorial brick campaign. This will allow anyone in the Cayuga County community to purchase memorial bricks to be laid along our walkway to the church and the Memorial Chapel.  Along with the needed funds gained from this part of our capital campaign, we see this part of the project as contributing to our goal for increased visibility in the community.

3.    Honoring Our Ancestors and Ourselves and Serving Future Generations

A church that has been part of a community for so long has many ancestors to honor.  Our church building contains not only bricks, sculptures, beautiful stained-glass windows and melodic steeple bells; it contains the spirits of those who have created it, maintained it and worshiped within it.  It contains the prayers that have been spoken and unspoken in honor of those within and, more often, the world beyond, its walls.  We are committed to doing our part to preserve our church in memory of those who come before us and in service of those who will benefit from the use of this church in years to come. 


For questions, please email [email protected]