Picture of the new roof on Greenwich Friends Meeting’s upper meetinghouse
On March 27th, 2021, Greenwich Friends Meeting successfully completed a four-month project to remove and replace the cedar shingle roof on their upper meetinghouse. PYM’s Quaker Buildings & Programs granting group and Friends Fiduciary’s Tyson Memorial Fund provided grants to support Greenwich Friends Meeting’s undertaking.
In their Quaker Buildings & Programs grant report, members of Greenwich Friends Meeting shared a list of thoughtful reflections on the process of installing their new roof from fundraising through to the final nail. The list includes both specific advice for grant seekers and some more general take-aways from undertaking meetinghouse preservation. Below is an excerpt from the end Greenwich Friends Meeting’s grant report:
Here is the advice we can offer to ourselves and to other meetings, based on what we’ve learned through this project:
- Prioritize but don’t defer the restoration needs of your historic meeting house. It’s best to plan things out in advance before a crisis emerges, though it doesn’t always work out that way. Don’t postpone needed repairs because of the pandemic. Having construction work done on the building while your members worship on zoom may spare you the inconvenience of many a first day punctuated by the distracting music of hammers and nails.
- Keep members of your monthly meeting in the loop concerning the need for the project as well as any plans, goals and timelines for realizing it. Don’t work entirely alone. Involve other meeting members, especially your treasurer and Clerk of Buildings and Grounds, in the application process. For your own peace of mind get a minute of support for applying for a Quaker grant before the application due date!
- Request advice and help from PYM staff and granting group members as you develop the application. Ask to see successful grant applications from previous applicants. Don’t reinvent the wheel or be afraid to introduce ideas from the projects others have designed and completed with excellence.
- Remember – we are called to steward our meetinghouses and to maintain the structural integrity of our “sacred” structures. Proceed as if every step of the restoration process, from fundraising to removal and installation, is divinely-led, holy work.
- Don’t be discouraged if in the process of implementing your project other serious problems are uncovered. Between the termite damage we discovered and the rot at the bottom of our window frames, which none of us had noticed until this project brought the building into sharp focus, we now find ourselves poised to bring in a structural engineer to determine the full extent of the damage to the rest of the building. We’ll be using the engineer’s assessment to prioritize our next repair and restoration project(s) and will fundraise accordingly. Take heart, have courage, and proceed step-by-step.
- Celebrate the achievement of completing your project with gratitude for contractor, collaborators and contributors, large and small.
While we have your attention: the Quaker Buildings & Programs granting group will not be making grants in the fall of 2021. The granting group will be pausing their grantmaking to implement a more efficient grant making schedule when they resume their grantmaking in 2022. A pause in grantmaking doesn’t mean the granting group cannot be a resource, we’d still love to talk you about your upcoming projects!