Preserving the future of Slocum Chapel in Exeter

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EXETER, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A local church with a rich history is trying to undo some damage from decades ago and its working to replace what it considers its most prolific building symbol.

Slocum Chapel was built on Exeter Avenue in 1867. And for more than a century, it featured a steeple. Now the pastor and his congregation believe it’s high time to feature that chapel topper once again.

The tolling of a bell is a welcoming sound from the belfry at Slocum Chapel. However, when pastor Guy Giordano arrived in 2011 to lead the congregation in worship, the wooden wheel and rope which operate the bell needed fixing.

“It was about a couple of hours and we had the whole thing working again,” said Pastor Giorando.

But there was something else that grabbed his attention which wasn’t nearly as easy to fix, “When I first arrived there was no steeple,” stated Giorando. The prolific symbol that stood atop the church belfry had long been gone.

Slocum Chapel is surrounded by a number of trees and it was one in 1986 that Pastor Guy says toppled the long-standing steeple.

Congregation member, Sal Strelecki said, “Without that steeple, it looks like the crown of glory is off of it. It looks like a buzz cut, you know.”

Some of the roughly three dozen congregation members decided to do something about it, “We call ourselves the steeple people,” said Strelecki

They helped raise about $5,000. But they need a whole lot more. About $20,000 more which is why Slocum Chapel will hold what’s called a Belfry Bazar and Fund Raiser later this month.

“The fundraiser is something that we know is going to be accomplished. I know within my heart of hearts it’s going to be accomplished but it’s going to be for the people to get behind it,” said Pastor Giordano.

The community yard sale will feature vendors donating $10 per table. The fundraiser will also include a silent auction, bake sale and entertainment.

While acknowledging church is much more than just a building, Pastor Guy believes a steeple is only fitting for the 154-year-old Slocum Chapel .

“It’s really stood the test of time and I feel obligated to the lord to just keep it going,” stated Giorando

“Once that steeple is restored, you’re going to see the glory come back to the building. And, of course, all that glory is for God,” said Strelecki.

The Slocum family left the chapel as a gift to the community. It’s only stipulation is that a church service is held there at least once a month and preferably once a week.

The Belfry Bazaar & Fund Raiser on Saturday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a rain date the following day if necessary.

If you are interested in attending you can head to this Facebook page for more information.

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