The Raymond Village Community Church is seeking donations to aid in its renovation projects. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

RAYMOND — The Raymond Village Community Church is in need of upgrades and is seeking donations to assist with renovation and re-siding projects.

The church, located at 27 Main St., is over 140 years old. It serves as a sponsor and venue for the Raymond Arts Alliance, is a member of Age-Friendly Raymond and hosts a variety of other community activities, including AA and Boy and Cub Scouts.

The church’s clapboard siding is covered in mold. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

The infrastructure has not been upgraded in many years, and the clapboard siding needs replacing. The church will upgrade to vinyl siding for both long-term reduced maintenance and mitigating drafts in the building.

“We are trying to keep our building maintained and keep it a welcoming space,” the Rev. Nancy Foran said. “We have known for several years that we need to either have the church repainted or pursue an alternative to that.” 

Re-siding will cost $32,000, head trustee Rolf Olsen said, and Ridgeline Exteriors will begin the work mid-August.

“The hope is we can get some funding to pay it off a lot quicker,” Olsen said. 

The other renovation project is focused on handicapped accessibility and will involve repaving a driveway.

“We currently have a ramp that goes into the sanctuary that is not really usable because the driveway that goes up to it is gravelly,” Foran said. “Our hope is being able to pave that driveway, and then there’s enough room at the top of that driveway where we could create a flat surface so that people could pull up and drop people off. The ramp itself is in fairly good condition.”

The paving project will cost between $10,000 and $12,000, according to Foran, but Olsen said the church does not know the start date yet.

Olsen said the church did not receive a grant it applied for through AARP, so other grants are being pursued and fundraising will be conducted.

“Obviously, it’s an older building,” Olsen said, but these renovations will “make it more attractive for community events.”

The paving project is “something that really needs to be done,” Foran said. “The sanctuary in the church is one of the largest public spaces in town. We want that used by more people.”

Olsen said the church’s last major renovation took place in the 1970s when the entire building was lifted up in order to add the vestry underneath.

Those wishing to donate to the re-siding project can use the GoFundMe titled “Raymond village community church renovation.” To donate to the paving project, visit the GoFundMe titled “In Memory of Francis Mains to aid Handicap efforts.” The church is also accepting checks.

Foran hopes the renovations will help the church support and bring together the community for many more years.

“My feeling is, if the church isn’t out serving the needs of the community, it’s not being the church,” she said. “We’re really trying to become a much more welcoming place for people and events and much more a part of the town of Raymond. These renovations are an important part of doing that.” 

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