Church has always been important to me. When I was a kid, my mom was the organist and choir director at the Methodist Church in Winthrop. She had me singing in the kids choir when I was pretty young. I think every kid in church was in the choir. And as a teenager I graduated into the senior choir, plus I started serving communion.

Some Sundays after church, friends would gather at our house, where Mom had an organ, and she’d play our favorite hymns while we sang them. Often in Winthrop, we’d have a weekend dinner at church, after which Mom would play the piano while we sang our favorite hymns for an hour. I have a disc of mom playing our favorite Christmas hymns, something I treasure.

I joke today that I have 100 favorite hymns, but really, I do! And I am well known at our church for insisting we sing all the verses of each hymn. One of the saddest things about my illness, ALS, is the loss of my singing voice. I had to give up singing in our church choir.

My wife Linda and I have been members of the Readfield Methodist Church for about 35 years. It’s a wonderful congregation and our young pastor, Myung Eun Park, from South Korea, is awesome. One of the things I really enjoy is, after church service every Sunday, we gather downstairs for food and fellowship. I am usually the last one to leave!

A few miles from our church, the Jesse Lee Meeting House in Readfield is beautiful and historic — Maine’s oldest Methodist church. Linda and I got married there, and my parents are in the cemetery just across the road from the meeting house. I drive by that church on my way to Augusta, and it always brings a smile to my face. But today, it is obvious as I look at the church that it needs help.

The Meeting House needs new siding and we are hoping you can donate to this very important project, which will cost $38,000. The Readfield Methodist Church is responsible for the Meeting House, which was built between 1793 and 1795. And its dedication on June 21, 1795, drew as many as 2,000 people.

The church was originally up on the hill and was moved 500 feet to its present location by 50 teams of oxen. Regular worship services were held here until 1961 when five local congregations combined into one church currently known as the Readfield United Methodist Church in Kents Hill.

But the Jesse Lee Meeting House is still the host of Easter sunrise and Christmas Eve services, plus Sunday evening services in the summer and weddings, funerals, and other special events. Many of the services here involve lots of singing, which is very special. The church, partly because it is so historic, is so peaceful and holy, I could sit there for hours.

Our church members are pleased and proud to care for and maintain this very special church. But the sun, wind, rain and snow has caused the paint to chip and peel, and the weathered wood beneath will rot if left unattended.

In 2015 we installed a metal roof thanks to the generous donations of several church members. But we don’t have the money to fix the siding, even though we know it is urgent that we get this done. We do not want to see this beautiful and historic church continue to deteriorate.

Any and all donations will be very much appreciated, and we will invite you to a special celebration when the siding is done.

Checks should be payable to the Readfield Methodist Church and mailed to: Readfield United Methodist Church, 1564 Main Street, Readfield 04355. If you have any questions about the project please call us at 685-4211. Thank you!

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.

 

 


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