Our mission is to preserve, maintain, and protect the Wendell Meetinghouse, a cornerstone to the Wendell Town Common and Historic District. Once the building has been restored to its former glory, it shall then be available for historical exhibits, cultural and spiritual programs, and it will serve as a meeting place for special events.
The Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse is a tax exempt nonprofit corporation dedicated to carrying out this mission. Our efforts are coordinated by a Board of Directors, officers, and members and are carried out with the help and support of many Friends and neighbors. We hold monthly meetings on the first Monday of the month at 3 pm at the Wendell Senior Center and an annual meeting where members may vote to select officers and amend our bylaws.
The Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse was created to care for the building when the Wendell Congregational Church was no longer able to meet the challenge. In the spring of 2002 the Wendell Church sold the building to the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse for $1. An agreement was reached between the Wendell Church and the Friends that the building would be preserved and maintained according to the standards established by the Secretary of the Interior for the treatment of historic buildings, and also that the building would remain available for gatherings of a spiritual nature such as weddings, funerals, religious services and celebrations.
Initially efforts to restore the building were led by a small group of Wendell residents including Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse President Charles Thompson Smith, Clerk Melinda Godfrey, Treasurer Molly Kaynor and her husband Jerry Eide, the owner of Hill Town Restoration a construction company specializing in the preservation of historic buildings. Jerry and Molly prepared preliminary conditions analysis of the building including a prioritized list of repairs before the Friends acquired the building. For years, Molly coordinated fundraising efforts while Jerry coordinated repairs to the building. This work included replacing the roof, removing a concrete slab that was causing damage and replacing the damaged sill. Sadly after many years of service dedicated to preserving the Wendell Meetinghouse Molly was diagnosed with lung cancer and in the first moments of 2011 she passed away.
In 2011 a new group of volunteers stepped up to assist Charles and Melinda in continuing the efforts to preserve the building and make it available for community use. Funds were raised for initial repairs to ensure that that building was weather tight and clean out the interior. The Board of Directors was expanded from three to between five and eleven members. In the years that followed, the belfry was repaired and the windows and doors restored all thanks to the generosity of the members and supporters of Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse.
In 2015 a Historic Structures Report was completed. This is required for state historic grants and provides detailed plans for restoring the building. We are currently raising funds to paint the exterior of the building and provide matching funds for state grants for restoration.
Click here to download a copy of the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse bylaws.