It took more than three years, but the historic Saugatuck Congregational Church is poised to rise from the ashes.

Today, the landmark church, partially destroyed by a sweeping fire on Nov. 20, 2011, will hold a rededication ceremony to christen the restoration project.

"We had just completed a renovation six weeks before the fire," said John Walsh, building committee chairman, noting that even parts of the church complex that weren't consumed by flames were severely damaged by smoke and water. "That was basically infrastructure stuff that went in. It was a new elevator, a new furnace."

The fire most heavily damaged the rear of the structure where the congregation's administrative offices, meeting rooms and nursery school were located. The roof at the rear of the complex was gone, and only the chimney was standing. In the aftermath while repairs took place, the congregation staged worship services at Temple Israel and large community programs, such as its Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

In planning the restoration, using insurance money, donations and state grant money, church leaders decided to beautify, and to some extent unify, the complex while making the requisite structural and code compliance work.

The result is a handsome new interior that still reflects the historic character of the building originally constructed in 1832.

"That's what we tried with the whole church," Walsh said, "to maintain the historic character, the look and feel of the church, but just bring it up to date."

Services began again on Christmas Eve, with outside groups slowly starting to return. Monday the nursery school reopened for its first day.

"We feel like we're still dreaming," said Ellen DeHuff, nursery school director. "It's more beautiful than ever. The families, the staff and children are so enthused."

Care was taken to restore the historic sanctuary with care to its original floor, pews and replica windows. As a result of the renovations, rear second-story windows that had previously been boarded up have been opened to provide bright southern exposure.

Along with restoring existing rooms besides the sanctuary, such as the large, quaint Fellowship Room, there are also some unique additions. There is a second-story recreation room, as well as an upstairs worship room available for smaller services, as well as choir rehearsal.

"We're still totaling it," Walsh said of the project's cost. "It's a lot, but we're thrilled with what we've got."

Sunday's rededication program, which is open to the community, is set for 3 p.m.

The service will feature remarks by the Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton, the church's pastor who joined the congregation after the 2011 fire. The Kent Siladi will speak on behalf of the a United Church of Christ Connecticut Conference, and music will be performed by the Staples High School Orphenians, the Men's Gospel Choir of First Congregational Church of Norwalk and Saugatuck church's youth and adult choirs.

A reception will follow. Church officials ask that people planning to attend call the church office at 203-227-1261.

The church's regular 10 a.m. service will feature guest preacher the Rev. Ted Hoskins, who served Saugatuck church from 1971 to 1994.

Guided tours of the building will depart from the Welcome Center at the rear of the church complex starting at 1:45 p.m.