A masonry company began work on the foundation of the new Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Tuesday.
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The 110-year-old church was destroyed last year by a fire set by Robert Huber, who was sentenced in January to eight years in prison for arson, with seven years suspended.
The church will cost $3.7 million to construct and furnish, according to the Rev. George Silides. The congregation has $2.8 million in the bank and has raised another $245,000. The new building is expected to be complete by spring 2009.
Silides said the new church will seat the same number of people as it did before. It will be slightly wider, slightly taller, but a little shorter in length because of financial constraints.
"What was once a tragedy has become a blessing in many unforeseen ways," Silides said. "The rebuilding project is part of our life as a church, but it's not all of what we are about."
Since the church burned, it has shared fellowship and Sunday school with the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Silides said rebuilding has been intimidating.
"There's some anxiety fatigue over time, but as we have these thresholds of progress, we gain new excitement and rejuvenation, such as the pouring of the footings today and the generous contributions of the parishioners," Silides said.