New Life for a 154 Year Old Church
Charles Foote has admired the North Rushford Church, located in the Town of Rushford along State Road 21, ever since he was a young man. Now a somewhat older man of 89 years, Charles is pleased and bit surprised to be the owner of that very same church!
A few months ago he and members of Rebel Alliance Theatre took a look at the Rushford Church as a possible venue for their productions. Although Rebel Alliance determined that the space was not adequate for their needs, Charles was so taken with the sturdiness and timeless beauty of the building that he decided to buy it himself. Pastor Beverly Davidson and the members of the Blessed Hope Ministry were willing to sell the building at a very reasonable price, and Charles felt it was an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up.
“The architecture is beautiful, and the church is in remarkable shape for being 153 years old.” says Charles. He and his daughter, Jennifer Frank, plan to refurbish the building while being very respectful of the original design. “Basically, all we’re doing is painting, fixing some minor water damage inside, adding a new furnace and doing a bit of plumbing work. We also plan to repair the wheelchair ramp and do some landscaping outside. We feel that the beauty and character of the building will shine through with just a bit of love and encouragement!” Frank and her father plan to open the building in May of 2010 as a multipurpose venue, suitable for weddings, parties, meetings, recitals, performances, family reunions, and “any other creative uses people might come up with.” They hope to be able to charge a reasonable price for use of the building, and are willing to talk to anyone that would like to use the space, no matter how much money they may have to spend. “If you have a good idea, but not much money, we are more than willing to work with you!” says Frank.
The North Rushford Church was built by Episcopalians back in 1856 and after remaining idle for a time was reactivated as a community church. A Methodist Congregation took over in 1896, and the church has remained Methodist for much of its life. In recent years the church has been home to the Blessed Hope Pentecostal Church.
Charles and Jennifer are very interested in learning all they can about the history of the church, and are especially interested in hearing peoples’ personal reminiscences about the building. An initial open house was held Sunday, December 6, 2009, and the new owners met with many friends of the North Rushford Church and were able to share their memories. “The building will still be very much a work in progress,” says Frank. “We just wanted to give people a chance to meet us, ask any questions they might have and hear our plans for the space.”
Frank and Foote have dubbed the venue “The Gathering Space” , and will be opening to the public the weekend of May 15, 2010. People with questions or information to share about the North Rushford Church are encouraged to call Charles Foote at 920.685.5540 or email Jennifer Frank at .