Our September History Highlight centers on the continuous need for our leaders to envision and prepare the way for the many generations to come.  It is timely then that Session has recently approved the Trustees recommendation to engage the firm of Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects to create a plan detailing how best to care for our Historic Sanctuary over the next 50 to 100 years.

As a follow up to our recent Session Highlight regarding approval to proceed with this plan, we thought it would be valuable to the congregation to provide more detail on this important program.

What is the Historic Preservation Plan?

The plan will be conducted in 2 phases:

  • A Condition Assessment Report is the first step which will evaluate existing conditions of the Sanctuary (interior and exterior), make recommendations for repair and upgrade, and project probable cost. The document will serve as a vital tool for outlining future work on the building that can be undertaken in a prioritized, well-reasoned manner.
  • A Historic Preservation Plan will add to the condition assessment by looking at our property in relation to its historic significance but also in how our building’s preservation fits with our long term ministry goals. It will provide a valuable tool for not only outlining future restoration and rehabilitation work, but can also be used to garner grant funding from sources interested in preserving historic and cultural resources.

Why do we need the plan?

Our Sanctuary was built in 1839. Each year the Trustees are faced with many significant decisions regarding its care. These decisions will inevitably require expert guidance and support which is best obtained through a comprehensive analysis of our current condition and a plan to ensure its future.

Who will provide the plan?

The firm of Connelly & Hickey Historical Architects, LLC is an architecture firm that specializes in the restoration and rehabilitation of historic properties with a focus on properties located in New Jersey. Margaret Hickey, Historic Preservation Specialist, visited our church last fall and made a wonderful presentation at a meeting open to the congregation to introduce us to the world of historic preservation. Her approach will be to create a plan tailored to the individual needs of our church leaders charged with the long term care of our church campus.


What do we get for our investment in the plan?

We will receive detailed reports for each phase of the program. They will include:

  • Chronology of Construction
  • Architectural Description including Drawings of Existing Conditions
  • Conditions Assessment including Photographs
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • Conceptual Estimate of Probable Costs
  • Historical Overview
  • Identification of Significant Features
  • Preservation Philosophy
  • Architectual Planning (as related to maintaining the existing use)
  • Treatment Recommendations


Are there other benefits from the plan?

In addition to the “blueprint” to guide the care of our Sanctuary, the plan will provide the basis for any grant application we make not only for future projects, but also for the cost of this plan.  Although not guaranteed, we will certainly apply to appropriate fund sources to get reimbursed for the cost of this plan.

How long will it take to produce the plan?

We don’t have a timeline as yet but we expect to receive detailed estimates in the next few months.

Will there be a presentation of the plan once it is completed?

We expect Margaret Hickey will be pleased to give us regular progress reports as well as a more formal presentation at the conclusion of the process.


In conclusion, our Sanctuary is a precious treasure of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. The Trustees consider the care of this treasure one of their prime responsibilities.  The receipt of this Historic Preservation Plan will provide a key building block in our efforts to fulfill this responsibility. We all have been given a sacred trust from previous generations and we must strive to be faithful stewards of our Sanctuary and care for it in ways that will bring glory to God.


Bill Emmitt

President, Trustees