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Parishes Find Creative Funding Solutions for Preservation

Many Vermont Episcopal congregations care for treasures that are both beautiful and often expensive to maintain. Recently two parishes have sought community support to protect the objects entrusted to them.

St. James, Arlington is home to several large 19th century stained glass windows. Featuring organic patterns of plants and flowers that reflect the surrounding environment, the windows have lost much of their original vibrant colors over the years. Without restoration, some are in danger of falling.

The estimate for full restoration of the windows is approximately $120,000, and the congregation raised $30,000 from donors to match a grant from the Newburger Foundation. Last month, the parish learned that it has received a $20,000 Historic Preservation Grant from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Fifty-two applications were received this year, and St. James was one of only 16 grants awarded.

“With this historic grant we are within $40,000 of our goal,” says St. James senior warden Mike Wisniewski. “We are now in the process of applying for our next grant – we’re looking specifically at the National Fund for Sacred Places.

Two hours away, St. Mary’s, Northfield is home to an 1836 Hook Brothers pipe organ that has been recognized by the Organ Historical Society as a national heritage pipe organ and designated an organ of historical significance.

“Unfortunately, the organ has been infested with mold and mildew, despite being actively managed with dehumidification,” says St. Mary’s organist Cam Featherstonhaugh. “It is time to improve the room that houses it, time for it to be thoroughly cleaned, time to be tuned up, and past time for the foot pedals be repositioned.”

To restore the organ, the parish is looking to the community at large for help, launching both an in-person and online campaign to reach its $25,000 goal.

“The mighty Hook … is now 184 years old, and though it still serves the community faithfully every week, it has some issues, reads the online campaign description. “This piece of history needs the support of the entire Northfield, Historic Preservation, and Organ Enthusiast communities to be saved and preserved.”

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