Saturday, May 3, 1997
Flood opened church door
to bigger cleanup project

The Cincinnati Enquirer

On March 8, Pastor Kevin Murphy was busy sweeping water out of Cranston Memorial Presbyterian Church.
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NEW RICHMOND - The congregation and friends of Cranston Memorial Presbyterian Church didn't stop working after cleaning up several inches of flood mud. walls and ceilings, drywalling, replacing aging fixtures, floor tiles and wiring, and replastering - until the entire church was transformed.

Sunday, the spiffed-up Cranston Memorial - built in 1856 - will hold its first service since the brown Ohio River swept in March 3. The water reached about 2 feet deep inside the church, topped by a green steeple at the corner of Washington and Union streets.

''It's an entire face lift," Pastor Kevin Murphy said. "We had all these little projects we had been meaning to do and had people and tools there, so we just started to do it."

The mud-soaked carpet came up first, then the soggy vinyl tile beneath it.

''That's when everything starting snowballing, and we ended up restoring the whole place," Bill Porter, a church member, said Friday.

Mr. Porter and others spent Friday stripping and waxing the floor in the fellowship hall, giving it a soft sheen. Other finishing touches went in - hanging up baskets of ferns, bolting down the final pews, finishing carpet installation around the pulpit.

The building smelled of fresh paint and soap. A freshly painted chandelier in the sanctuary caught the sunlight through tall, sparkling-clean windows. Outside, a row of white-blossomed dogwood trees formed a lacy pattern.

Some of the labor and materials to restore the church came from the staff of country radio station WYGY (96.5 FM), "which kind of adopted us," the Rev. Mr. Murphy said.