MANCHESTER — Hearing there was a need for a communal gathering spot in town, Manchester Community Church officials have opened their building for weekly gatherings they hope will help fill that need with conversation and companionship.

The new Manchester Community Center will operate at the church Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m.

The gatherings are intended for adults only and expected to include light refreshments, conversation, cards and games and companionship, according to organizers.

Church member John Gragg, who will oversee the gatherings, said all adult community members are welcome. He said organizers hope the events will give residents, especially elderly people who live alone, a place and time to get out and socialize.

“Our main concern is the elderly and other people living by themselves,” Gragg said. “They can get really bored, sitting inside their homes, especially this time of year. This will be a social place where they can gather, and have someone to talk to. People need that.”

The church is at 21 Readfield Road, which is also Route 17, roughly across the street from the Manchester Town Office and Manchester Elementary School.

The need for a community gathering spot in Manchester had been expressed both by word of mouth and specifically stated by residents during public sessions held as part of the recent review of the town’s comprehensive plan, according to Town Manager Patrick Gilbert.

“It was pretty clear this is something the community really wanted,” Gilbert said. “We’re glad to have it.”

Gragg said activities will take place in the basement of the church, which is accessible to people with handicaps, and also could include crafts, cooking in the church’s full kitchen, knitting and other activities led by church volunteers.

There will be no charge to attend the gatherings, he said.

Gilbert said church member Mary Cloutier approached him about a month ago with the idea of hosting such a center at the church. The first gathering was Jan. 6.

More information is available online at the church’s website,, or by calling the Rev. Don Davenport at 215-6838.

Gragg said the church may also be contacted if someone needs a ride to the community center gatherings.

Gragg said the gatherings will take place during the winter, at least into March. He said they could be continued beyond then if they are popular.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

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