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Yes, it looks like it has been there since 1717, but the stone walkway to the education building is only a month old! The walkway leads to a new bluestone patio, which has been raised to allow barrier free access into the education building and the chapel. The brick staircases on either end of the patio were rebuilt as well. The entire area is now safe and beautiful.

They say a good mason is hard to find-don’t believe it! We only had to go as far as Blairstown to find Tom Thurgood of Thurgood Masonry, a craftsman who has the patience of a saint. The job specifications changed three times, and each time Tom came back (to meet with yet another group) to explore additional requirements and brainstorm creative ideas. Then he met with Dave Welch from Cascade Tree. Dave has lovingly cared for our oak tree for many years. He is the guy standing outside in the rain immediately following any storm to check on the tree. Dave had his own restrictions for work to be done around the tree, further complicating Tom’s plan. It was a joy to see these two men, each caring so passionately about their area of responsibility, work together for us.

Somehow Tom was able to make the Trustees, the Barrier Free committee, Herb and Sue Ryder, our project architects, the township inspector, all the people who required access to the building during the process, Dave Welch and the oak tree people happy-and he cleaned up before he went home!

Restoration of the patio has been high on the Trustee to-do list for many years. Only now, with funding available from both the gift Florence Bedell made to the church, and the increased Historic Building Reserve funds resulting from the Herbert Brown bequest, were they able to accomplish the project. The gifts of these, and many other saints of our church family, allow us to continue to serve God from this place. However, do not think that it is large individual gifts alone that make a difference. Our combined contributions, some as small as $10, to the Historic Building Fund have brought it to its current principal balance of $943,252. As the fund grows the corresponding allotment to our historic building and contiguous property also increases. A gift that keeps on giving. Praise be to God!

A page from Oak Leaves, a news letter from The Presbyterian Church, Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Entitled Trustee Highlights. September 2001

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