Boston Sun: Made for This Time: Surprisingly Emmanuel Church Was Engineered for COVID-19

History has become a real teaching mechanism about the machinations of the Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street for those in the leadership and on the Building Commission – as through the pandemic they have learned firsthand of the wisdom of their forefathers in the 1800s who engineered their church to mitigate airborne diseases so the church could minister to the sick.

It has been an unexpected and astounding finding, church leaders said.

Rev. Pamela L. Werntz and Church Building Commissioner Michael Scanlon said after years of trying to make the church more efficient and to save on heating bills, it is only now that they have learned the system they sought to dismantle is actually the perfect antidote for keeping the COVID-19 virus at bay inside the church.

“They knew about airborne diseases and ventilation was installed,” said Werntz. “The system keeps the air flow upward and not across and doesn’t recirculate air…We did everything we could for 15 years to dismantle it. It’s more energy efficient and financially responsible not to blow hot air out the roof. We weren’t successful though. We just couldn’t figure out how to eliminate all the fresh air vents. Then COVID-19 hit and we said, ‘Oh my.’ We had a system in place designed perfectly for this. We reversed the few steps we had taken and spent some money to fix the attic fan and put the former system back in service.”

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