Thursday, December 31, 2015

Residents invited to help Franklin Federated reach fundraising goal

Franklin Federated Church nears $500,000 Restoration Campaign Goal

Church is asking the community to help close the fundraising gap

Just over a month after launching a capital campaign dedicated to funding substantial repairs and updates to its historic buildings, the Franklin Federated Church is closing in on its $500,000 goal.

As of December 28, $485,515 had been pledged to the campaign by church members and friends, to be paid over the next three years. More than $113,500 in contributions have been received and work has begun on several much-needed projects.

We are excited to be so close to achieving our goal," said campaign co-chair Allan Sawyer. "At this point, we are asking the community to help us get there." Campaign co-Chair Tom Pfeifle added that "the Franklin Federated Church is a tangible symbol of Franklin's history, providing a continuous link to the town's origins."

Situated on the southwest corner of the town common at 171 Main Street, the church has long been an important center of activity in the town. Meals on Wheels uses the kitchen, Temple Etz Chaim uses the sanctuary for high holidays, and Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and various support groups also meet there. The church hosts a popular annual yard sale and a Christmas concert, and has opened its doors in times of need, such as following the vigil for Lexi and Sean Munroe on Franklin Common.

Franklin Federated Church
Franklin Federated Church

The congregation is a Welcoming and Affirming congregation, meaning that all people are invited to be a part of the mission and ministry of the church. The congregation supports organizations locally and around the world, such as the Franklin Food Pantry, the Santa Foundation, New Hope, the Boston Grow Clinic and Church World Service.

In keeping with the Franklin Federated Church's mission to give back to the community, a portion of the funds raised will be donated to the New Hope RESPECT programs. The RESPECT programs reach out to, and help restore, families in our community that are broken down by violence.

Franklin residents who have benefited from using the building over the years are invited to consider helping with the restoration effort. Contributions can be made via the website: or checks made out to Franklin Federated Church can be mailed to Franklin Federated Restoration Campaign, 171 Main St., Franklin, MA 02038.

The church's history is entwined with the town's founding. The First Congregational Church was formed in 1738, when it broke off from the Congregational Church of Wrentham. This effectively marked the beginning of the Town of Franklin, which had previously been considered the West Precinct of Wrentham. The First Congregational Church joined with the First Baptist Church in 1941, forming the Federated Church. The two congregations had begun worshiping together after the hurricane of 1938 destroyed the First Baptist Church's building on School Street.

The current church building, constructed in 1895, features a sanctuary with a high vaulted ceiling, exposed wooden beams and large stained glass windows. The church building needs substantial work to repair damage from age and the elements, and to improve the accessibility and functionality of the space. Some necessary improvements include replacement of the heating system, work to both roof and foundation to stop the incursion of water, and the installation of upgraded fire safety and electrical systems. The parsonage, which sits next to the church and which was built in 1868, is also in need of new heating and drainage systems. The parsonage houses the pastor, Rev. Charley Eastman, and his family.

Franklin Federated Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches, USA.

For more information, contact the campaign co-chairs: Allen Sawyer, or 508-346-3120; and Tom Pfeifle, or 508 361-1954.

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