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Easter service will be church’s first since July fire

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

The Rev. Peter Williams of Grace Episcopal and Holy Spirit Church on Court Street in Cortland talks Friday about the renovations to the sanctuary. The church was restored after a fire last year and will host Easter services, the first in the sanctuary since the fire.

Sunday will mark the first time for services within the sanctuary of Grace and Holy Spirit Church since the building sustained smoke and water damage from a fire around 10 months ago.

The Rev. Peter Williams said two services will be 8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Easter morning at the church, at 13 Court St. Since the fire, the church has been busy rebuilding. In the sanctuary, repainting and replacement flooring efforts have been under way recently, Williams said.

Some of the old pews, along with new chairs and a new altar will be in the sanctuary, Williams said.

Having the first service in the new sanctuary on Sunday feels fitting, Williams said. “From the darkness, destruction and death, comes new life.”

Williams estimates 50 people will show up to the 8 a.m. service and around 100 at the 10:15 a.m. service.

In July, a fire, caused by an electric fan, destroyed the kitchen and an upstairs office. Nobody was injured, but the fire also swept through the lobby and upstairs.

The Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen was temporarily located to the United Presbyterian Church next to Courthouse Park. The program returned to the Grace and Holy Spirit Church basement in February, where it feeds 40 to 80 people at its meals, offered six days a week. Church services, which had been moved to the SUNY Cortland Interfaith Center at Prospect Terrace and Calvert Street after the fire, also returned in February. However, instead of being held in the sanctuary they were in the common area off the kitchen.