See the transformation: The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain

On a bitter, cold evening in January 2005, a fire broke out in the historic First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, and despite the heroic efforts of firefighters, the building was destroyed.  The next morning, all that remained were the outer walls and steeple of the church, along with charred timbers and pews and a pre-civil war organ that was irreparably damaged. What did remain was the spirit of The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain’s congregation, who were determined to see their home restored.

For years after the fire, the church members met in temporary spaces while raising the funds required to rebuild – first in a tent on the church lot, then at a neighboring institution, and eventually in a double wide trailer in front of the church.  The church is located on Centre Street in the center of one of Boston’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.  The goal of the congregation was not only to rebuild the church building, but to reestablish its important role in serving the surrounding community.

In 2007, Marc Truant & Associates began providing preconstruction services for First Baptist.  In 2008, after careful planning and extensive fundraising, construction began. Phase I, which was completed earlier this year, included foundation work, the rebuilding of the exterior walls, the steel structure of the building, and new finishes and systems. The ground floor level houses the church offices, rooms for Sunday school and community programs, a worship space and a large community kitchen. The soaring upper level space will become the church’s sanctuary when Phase II is completed; Marc Truant and Associates has begun work with the congregation on preconstruction planning for this next phase of the project.

The exterior was completely restored

First floor "flex space" is currently being used by a local school

New kitchen on the first floor

The sanctuary's structure was rebuilt. It will be finished during Phase II of the project, which is currently in preconstruction

It has been an honor for our company to work with The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain.  The church’s commitment to their mission and their embrace of the collaborative process have been inspiring to everyone involved in the project.

Marc Truant & Associates, Inc. (MTA) has worked on other restoration projects of historical properties and brought that past experience and expertise to bear on this project. There was particular effort in pre-construction planning and cost estimating, budget revision(s), scheduling and working within our budget restrictions. All of which was successfully accomplished. It is said in business…that the leader is only as good as the folks that surround him/her. This is exemplified at MTA. Each person with whom we had contact throughout this project is witness to that philosophy; they were intelligent, talented, committed, concerned, thoughtful, fiscally responsible and professional. MTA truly partnered with FBCJP in our rebuilding.

– Rev. Ashlee Wiest-Laird, pastor, and Nancy L. Sweeney, building committee chair

Architect: The Office of Michael Rosenfeld, Inc.
Photos: Ashlee Wiest-Laird (before) & Anton Grassl/Esto (after)
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