With roof in danger of failing, historic Philly church takes sabbatical

    When George Washington was in Philadelphia for the Continental Congress, he attended services at a relatively new Episcopal church called St. Peter’s in what’s now known as Society Hill.

    Now, more than 250 years after it was built, the same church still stands at Third and Pine streets. It serves more than 400 families and educates children at its elementary school across the street.

    The stalwart church, however, is in danger after so many years.

    “We learned that the roof trusses are at risk of failing,” said the Rev. Ledlie Laughlin, St. Peter’s rector. “While the likelihood is very, very remote, it is possible, and therefore we’re taking every precaution to make sure that no one gets hurt”

    He says that, even though the church will have close for a few months, the congregation won’t take a vacation.

    “This isn’t going to slow us down. We will draw on neighboring congregations of varying denominations. We’re looking into the possibility of putting a tent up in the parking lot,” he said. “At this point, we are exploring all options.”

    Even after the building is reopened, Laughlin said the congregation will need to raise $1 million to completely update the church’s structure, a prospect which could take up to three years.

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