Notice of Annual Meeting 2018

The Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse will hold its 2018 Annual Meeting at 7:00 PM on November 27 at 99 West Street, Wendell.  This will be the first of three meetings to discuss and brainstorm the vision for the renovation and usage of the Meetinghouse, to discuss fund-raising strategies for opening the Meetinghouse by summer 2021 (its 175th birthday), to confirm its interim board members and officers, and to discuss and approve changes to its articles and bylaws.

In alignment with our Articles of Incorporation, membership in the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse is open to those who wish to work together to preserve and maintain the Meetinghouse; voting membership is extended to anyone who attends three consecutive meetings. The Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse By-laws also note that members pay annual fees, but that the Board of Directors may grant waivers of those obligations. For purposes of these three meetings, payment of dues or lack of thereof will not affect or determine voting membership status.

The current Board of Directors (one member confirmed at the last annual meeting, others filled in accordance with the By-laws by a majority vote at subsequent Board meetings) seeks community input and engagement, and welcomes all who believe they are members and all who have an interest in the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse to be present for three consecutive membership meetings. We will hold these meetings over the next few months and conclude this phase of our work in January.  For planning purposes, it would be helpful to have a list of those persons likely to attend. Please RSVP to Court Dorsey court@crocker.com if you are planning to come.

The Friends are excited to be starting on this new phase of our work together to help revitalize our historic Meetinghouse, and to initiate a new period of creative and spiritual programming in our community.  Membership is one way to be involved. Please join us.

About FWM:

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.

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 00000001Friends 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.