June 17, 2014

Windham Hill United Chruch of Christ raises funds to preseve historic building

Windham Hill United Church of Christ is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise funds to make capital repairs to its historical Meeting House. This church has historical significance to the Town of Windham being the founding church for the town. In the 17th and 18th centuries in New England, the law mandated that states enforce religious devotion. All towns were required to establish a (Congregationalist) church and support a minister by levying taxes. Over the next century, the settled church, now called Windham Hill United Church of Christ, met in a few different locations in town. In 1834, the Meeting House was constructed atop Windham Hill where it stands to this day. The church structure and parsonage have stood strong for the Town of Windham over the last two centuries. 
Generations have been baptized, wedded and memorialized in this historic building. Its congregation has helped feed the poor and be a force of mission throughout the State of Maine, the country and the world during times of need.

In 2000, the church underwent a major restoration of its sanctuary. In 2006-2007, Fellowship Hall was expanded. Now, following an in-depth inspection of the Meeting House structure in 2013, major work is needed to preserve the building for future generations. The church’s steeple was found to be in serious deterioration and required immediate repair which was completed in the summer of 2013. The money for that repair was taken from the church’s investment funds and must be repaid. In addition, the foundation of the church requires work to ensure continued stability of the building’s structure. The church was built on a stone foundation with its floor supported by large tree hewn floor joists. Additional support to bolster the aging beams and stonework is required. Portions of the roof boards are also in need of replacement. The funds raised will preserve one of Windham’s primary historical structures.
An additional major component of the fundraising is to add a lightning protection and fire detection system for the church building and parsonage. Sitting atop Windham Hill, the buildings have in the past been protected by large pine trees. However, those trees have taken multiple hits by lightning over the years and will need to be removed making the buildings more vulnerable to strikes. That “Protection Project” was completed in April thanks to funds already donated to the campaign.

Along with ensuring the structural integrity of the church building and protection from lightning, additional funding for repairs to the parsonage is part of the capital campaign. 

While there are other components to the church fund raising efforts, they are relevant to the church membership and their ability to sustain their environment and ensure the future of their faith. Of the $150,000 needed, approximately $130,000 is earmarked for the preservation of the historical buildings on the church grounds. For more information, please call the church office at 892-4217.

Submitted story

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