BROOKLYN - A Brooklyn Heights church is undergoing major renovations to restore a hidden beauty that has been unseen for more than a century.
Church members at Grace Church discovered a celestial mural that was painted in 1868 hidden behind fake wood, and have begun the work to restore it.
They began their investigative work in the 1990s but the nearly $5 million renovation started this past spring. The money will also go toward installing a copper roof, repairing pews and adding new light fixtures.
Project leaders say the mural was originally covered up in 1910 because the style of the times had changed, and the church wanted to transform as well.
"I don't think they will realize until they walk in, the emotional impact that this space will give them," says Michael Carpenter, the restoration superintendent. "It's a feeling that you get now. Before it was nicely painted but now it's a true intent of God's house."
Church members have been using a different part of the church to gather while the sanctuary is renovated.
In addition to the ceiling renovations, a copper roof is being installed, pews are being sanded and repaired, and new lights are going to be installed. The project is expected to be completed by Easter 2014.