The Board of Trustees of the Amherst Community Foundation has voted to support and assist the efforts of the Congregational Church of Amherst in raising funds for the renovation and restoration of the historic church meetinghouse and parsonage on the Village Green. The Foundation and the church have formed a partnership, led by longtime residents Travis Warren and Paul Spiess, to raise funds from the community in support of maintaining and preserving this historic structure. Built in 1774 by the Town, the buildings form the centerpiece of the Historic District. The Foundation will act as fiscal agent for receipt of funds from the public. All donations will be tax exempt.
“One of the primary objectives of the Community Foundation is to bring important community projects to the attention of our residents,” stated Warren, Foundation treasurer. “There is no building or structure in the town that more truly represents our community heritage and history than the church meetinghouse. We are pleased to have been asked to facilitate and participate in this worthy undertaking.”
Speaking on behalf of the church, Spiess stated “The congregation is reaching out to the community because of the rising legacy costs of maintaining and safeguarding these historic structures. In our mind, there is no more beautiful example in New Hampshireof the combined architectural style and grace of the original meetinghouse.” A primary focus of the church meetinghouse project is to replace an aging fire suppression system and to update old wiring and electrical services. The historic original windows in the sanctuary will be rebuilt by an historic preservationist. A new kitchen will be installed to support community functions. Work in the historic parsonage will focus on the windows, and the electrical and plumbing systems.
The total projected cost of the project is $850,000 and to-date over $500,000 has been raised from church members and grants. The church buildings are used by numerous civic organizations, including the Preschool in the Village, the Historical Society of Amherst, Amherst Junior Women’s Club, Friends of the Library, numerous Scout troops, community suppers and more. For almost 250 years, the meetinghouse has been the site of weddings, memorial services, baptisms, civic activities and other life events of community residents.
Donations may be made online or by check, payable to the Amherst Community Foundation and mailed to Community Meetinghouse Capital Campaign, PO Box 256, Amherst, NH 03031.