On the morning of August 14, 2021, the newly gilded Crown of Life and weathervane will be restored to their rightful place on the spire of Christ Episcopal Church on Pollock Street in downtown New Bern.
The original crown, symbolic of everlasting life, and weathervane were placed on the spire of the new steeple, 150 feet in the air and higher than anything in the city, was added to the front of the Church in 1885. This was the third Church built on the property at the corner of Pollock and Middle Street. The second Church, built in 1824, was destroyed when a fire spread across Pollock Street from a burning building, in 1870, and all that remained were the exterior walls. In 1960, during Hurricane Donna, the metal shaft, that the crown and weathervane were attached to, 150 feet high, broke and the crown fell to the ground and was damaged beyond repair.
In 1989, John C. Thomas, owner of L R Thomas & Sons, did a total restoration of the steeple, including the installation of a new heavy steel shaft, a new crown and weathervane. The new crown and weathervane were gilded in 23 carat gold leaf were attached to the shaft, 150 feet in the air.
Thirty-two years later, recognizing the crown and weathervane needed to be regilded, Susan Moffat and John C Thomas asked the Reverend Paul Canady, Rector, and the Vestry of Christ Church for permission to regild both the crown and weathervane as a gift to the Church, On June 7, working with a local contractor, who hired a crane, the crown and weathervane were removed from the spire and taken to their home. John sanded and primed both pieces and Susan did the gilding with 24carat Triple gold leaf.
Over the course of four or five weeks, both pieces were gilded which took 475 leaves (3”x3” sheets) and the gilding is estimated to last 50 years. Susan and John are thrilled they had the opportunity to do this knowing the “Crown of Life” and weathervane is not only a gift to the Church but also the community, two gold-gilded icons, glistening in the sun, towering over our beautiful historic city.
By Susan Moffat-Thomas