Our Time, Our Turn

The theme, “Our Time, Our Turn” was derived from the knowledge that many have come before us, supporting and caring for this facility. A picture of the church is on the Town Seal and picture post cards, it is the focal point of numerous paintings and literally the center of our town and community. Everyone’s home needs constant maintenance, upkeep and updating. This building belongs to and is used by the entire community, serving Neighbors Near and Far. Its historical value is priceless. It is therefore incumbent upon us, those who are living here and using this building, even if it’s just to gaze upon it while walking the dog or at the Christmas Tree Lighting or Trick or Treating on Halloween, to ensure the future for those who will come behind us. Think about what our town would look like without this iconic edifice. The Capital Campaign allows three years for pledges to be fulfilled. Anyone and everyone can make a pledge based on the value of this building to them, their families and future generations. All are Welcome.

Susan Holden
Moderator, Congregational Church of Amherst, NH UCC

Please help preserve our beloved historic church and Meeting House

Our church has welcomed Amherst area citizens for over 200 years. It has been a house of worship, a community gathering place, a town meeting hall, and the setting for countless weddings, memorial services, community activities and other important life events. Now it is OUR TIME to ensure its future for those who follow us in the years to come.

Centuries-old buildings like ours require constant vigilance and loving care. Our forbearers understood this and did their part. It is now OUR TURN to continue the legacy we have been given. Our last major renovation was 20 years ago, when the church building was remodeled. Our parsonage, where our Pastor lives, has seen only minimal maintenance for 30 years.

Realizing the importance of our buildings’ history to our congregation and to Amherst citizens, the congregation voted on June 3, 2018 to proceed with a capital campaign to raise $850,000 to undertake sorely needed updates and renovations.

The information that follows will give you a more detailed picture of what needs to be done, why it’s important, and how the campaign will proceed. We need your help to make this effort another successful chapter in the long and cherished history of the this historic church, and its place in the community.

Key proposed projects that will support our programs, activities, mission, community outreach, and facilities include:

Fire Suppression System Replacement which is well underway. Work has begun and is intended to be completed in October. We are also addressing the need to bring our fire alarm system up to code.

Electrical Work for Sanctuary, Vestry, Narthex, and Balcony will include replacing aged surface-mounted outlets under all sanctuary and narthex side windows and replace the circuit breaker panel in the rear of the sanctuary with light switches and dimmers.

Motion-sensing switches will be used in restrooms, the vestry, Woman’s Association (WA) rooms, and other areas where appropriate. Lighting will be improved in the narthex. We will consolidate, upgrade, and replace load centers as needed.

LED lighting will replace florescent and incandescent lighting wherever possible. New circuits will be added where needed.

Sanctuary, Narthex, and Vestry Window Restoration: These windows are ill-fitting, drafty, and very difficult to open. The pulley and weights are long past useable. Windows will be individually rebuilt, retaining the grilles and single-pane glass. New tracks and weather-stripping will be added to make the windows useable and draft-free. Weight pockets will be insulated and blocked off to improve thermal properties. Per code, tempered glass will be used where required. Custom interior storm windows will be created to reduce heat loss. The look of these windows will remain unchanged after restoration. Window treatments in the sanctuary will be updated with new interior shutters. The current shutters do not close or fold reliably and are hiding beautiful pilaster trim work.

Meetinghouse Siding Repair and Repainting: Paint is peeling off the siding and trim in many places around the church exterior. The exterior trim and sills of the windows are all in need of attention. All failing siding and trim will be scraped, sanded, primed, and caulked, and given two coats of oil base, brush-applied top coat. Rotting or split siding will be replaced with new cedar clapboards.

Church Kitchen Renovations: Our kitchen is heavily used throughout the year for church functions, memorial receptions, community suppers, Preschool in the Village, and by many other community organizations/functions (see attached list). We will add new electrical circuits to properly distribute electric loads; replace current lighting with LED fixtures and motion-sensing switches at all doors; install new cabinets, base units, and countertops; update appliances,

We will also update plumbing, including replacing the old hot water heater with a new, limitless supply hot water heater. We will replace the flooring and ceiling tiles.

Parsonage Repairs/Improvements

Electrical Work: The obsolete, unsafe, ancient multiple circuit breaker boxes and service need to be upgraded from 100A to 200A, replacing and combining them into one modern 200A load center. We will also add lighting in the main staircase, update wiring in the attic to bring it up to safety code, remove all knob and wire circuits, properly locate and install fire detectors and new circuits in the living space, and add a downdraft vent in the kitchen.

Exterior Repairs: The parsonage siding and trim is in great need of repair, replacement, and painting. There is significant exterior wood siding and trim damage throughout, there is a good chance we will discover some underlying sheathing damage as well. The building is structurally sound, but should any problem in that area be uncovered, those repairs will need to be made. The roof is very near end of life and needs to be replaced. The main chimney is failing, bricks need re-pointing, and the crown is crumbling. In general, the parsonage needs long overdue exterior maintenance.

Window Restoration: As in the church, these windows are ill-fitting, drafty, and very difficult to open. The windows with pulleys and weights are long past useable. These windows will be individually rebuilt with thermopane glass. We will install grilles inside and out and will remove the old aluminum combination storm windows from the exterior. New tracks and weather-stripping will be added to make the windows useable and free of drafts. Weight pockets will be insulated and blocked. These windows will look nearly identical to the existing windows. We are searching for replacement wooden (non-clad) windows with these attributes to meet the Amherst Historic District Commission requirements.

Parsonage Plumbing and Repairs: Plumbing upgrades for the parsonage include updating the bathroom fixtures and toilets in three bathrooms in the house. The toilets are old, very low, and they leak. The dishwasher is old, rusting inside, and it leaks; it has reached end of life. Because the kitchen is in the center of the house, the dishwasher is heard throughout the first floor when it is running. Modern dishwashers are very quiet and should solve the noise issue. Drainage plumbing for the washing machine has been a constant problem for years and will be addressed.

Projects Cost
Fire Suppression System (includes loan payback) $153,395
Electrical Repairs, Sanctuary, Narthex, and Vestry $107,450
Window Restoration, Sanctuary, Narthex, and Vestry $138,850
Exterior repair and paint, Church Meetinghouse $82,000
Church Kitchen Remodeling $121,000
Electrical Repairs, Parsonage $25,000
Parsonage Exterior, Roof, Chimney, Siding, Paint $76,500
Window Restoration , Parsonage $50,515
Parsonage Plumbing $3,500
Capital Campaign Expenses $36,810
Project Management $40,000
Subtotal $835,020
Out year inflation, cost growth ~ 1.8% $14,980
Totals $850,000