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Inflation's toll: Cost of new Coptic church skyrockets

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-3/120176343557450.xml&coll=3 Inflation s toll: Cost of new Coptic church skyrockets Thursday, January 31,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2008
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      http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-3/120176343557450.xml&coll=3

      Inflation's toll: Cost of new Coptic church skyrockets
      Thursday, January 31, 2008
      By RONALD LEIR
      JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

      Bayonne's Coptic Orthodox Christians are still hoping to complete
      their new worship center at the City Line - but it's going to take a
      lot more money to do the job, church officials said.

      Bishop David, the overseer of the church's northeast region (and who
      only uses one name), and the Rev. George Greiss, pastor of St.
      Abanoub & St. Antony Coptic Orthodox Church, of Bayonne, said the
      church has spent $2.1 million for land acquisition, utility lines,
      retaining walls, lights, footings, about a third of the steel frame,
      and a temporary chapel, since the city zoning board gave its blessing
      for the project in September 1999.

      "But, to complete the new building, another $2.5 million is
      needed," Bishop David said.

      Once the job resumes, it should take a year to complete, according to
      church board member Morris Demetrious, a longtime friend of Greiss'
      and a licensed engineer from East Brunswick. Demetrious is
      coordinating the project.

      Time and inflation have taken their toll. When blueprints were drawn
      up, officials estimated that the church would take $2 million to
      build, but, since then, the cost of construction materials has
      skyrocketed, Greiss said.

      They're looking for a bank to front the cash but, in the meantime,
      they've scheduled a series of fund-raising banquets, starting with
      one on Feb. 17, from 4 to 8 p.m., at Michele's, a Garfield caterer.
      Tickets are $100 for adults and $50 for children. Three more
      fund-raisers are slated for May and November.

      Greiss said they're hoping to raise between $50,000 and $70,000 at
      each of the events, but that would still leave them well short of their goal.

      On another front, church officials are trying to get city approvals
      to build an extension to the former Barrett's Tavern, at Kennedy
      Boulevard and 63rd Street, where the church has been holding four
      services a week. They want to add a Sunday School classroom, a
      library, and an office for the priest.

      The church has the money in hand for this job but Greiss said the
      city has insisted that it comply with a long list of code
      requirements before it will allow the work to begin. "We need the
      cooperation of the city in speeding up the permits," Demetrious said.
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