Reverend Mark Wilson of the Waitsfield United Church of Christ walks to work from his Old County Road home in Waitsfield and loves to see the steeple of the church poking up through the trees on his way.
“There’s something very small-town New England to see that steeple. I think about how much it means to me and I’d venture a guess that that steeple may have a similar place in people’s hearts whether they’re part of the church or not,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that the steeple, like any old house, needs to be painted and maintained and said it had been 20 years since the community gathered together to raise funds needed to update the steeple.
“Now we’re back in the same spot again,” he said, explaining that McCausland Painting and Goodman Construction had been hired to paint and repair the steeple. Wilson said that the white vertical support pieces that lead up to the weathervane at the top are in need of repair and will then be covered in a new material, a hard dense PVC type of material.
“They’re also going to flash the top of the steeple in copper,” he noted.
The cost of the project will be between $65,000 and $75,000 and it should be done by the end of this month.
The Waitsfield United Church of Christ doesn’t have a capital reserve fund per se, he said, although church members have pledged some $35,000 towards the project. The People for the Steeple campaign was resurrected to meet the unfilled need.
“That’s one of our soft spots. We don’t have a plan for that,” he said and added that church leaders are working to establish a capital reserve fund.
Five years ago, the church expanded to build out its Village Meeting House. The Village Meeting House is home to monthly free community suppers, child care activities, community gatherings and meetings and, more recently, a place to receive a COVID test or vaccination.
The last initiative connected to the expansion was the painting of the building from bottom to top. Over the past few years, several friends and members of the church have painted the entire building and its new addition. The only thing remaining was the front of the church and the steeple -- a job too big for volunteers.
Tax deductible contributions toward this project can be made by check (Waitsfield UCC Meeting House, P.O. Box 16, Waitsfield, VT 05673) or online at www.WaitsfieldChurch.org/stories/steeple.