North Perry Church to Dedicate New Steeple, New Entrance and Historic Bell

AFTER: The North Perry Church pictured after construction of the new entrance, steeple, belfry and placement of the historic bell, and the addition of shutters. (September 2017)

When the North Perry United Methodist Church was built in 1909, the entrance to the chapel faced the main road. But a new road was built in 1924, leaving the church literally back-to to passing motorists, with no entrance to the church visible from what is now U.S. Route One. This unfortunate position has long bothered members of the congregation, who wanted their church to offer a more welcoming and inviting view.

So in the spring of 2016, the congregation launched a capital campaign to raise the money to build a new front entrance with a steeple and belfry to house the historic bell that once graced the one-room North Perry School. The old school closed in November 1952 when the Clark School opened and the town’s numerous small schools were consolidated under one roof. In 1974, the old school building was razed, and its owners Dick & Cynthia Adams donated its bell to the church. Since then, the bell has been quietly stored away, awaiting a steeple. The repurposing of the old bell is particularly poignant given that, in the years before the church was built in 1909, Methodists held worship services at the North Perry School. 

On Sunday, October 15th, at 2:30 p.m., the congregation will celebrate the successful completion of this ambitious project, with the dedication of the beautiful new addition that has literally changed the face of the 108 year-old church building. Contractor Vaughn Pottle and his crew built the concrete foundation, while builder Chris Goodwin, of Pembroke, and his crew were hired to build the entrance and steeple. The custom-built aluminum belfry was fabricated over the course of eight weekends this summer by volunteers Jerry Morrison, of Perry, who also donated the materials, and David Turner, both of whom worship at the church. Attractive green shutters all the way around the building complete the transformation in the appearance of the building, which occupies a prominent position on Route One not far from the Robbinston town line. 

“So many people have contributed to make this transformation a reality. The church is so much more welcoming and attractive now, which is exactly what we envisioned,” said Kevin Raye, who chairs the North Perry Church Council. “Preserving and repurposing the old bell is a terrific way to celebrate our town’s history and help kick off Perry’s Bicentennial next year.”

“There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm at the North Perry Church and it is a blessing to be part of it. Everyone is looking forward to hearing that bell ring for the first time in many years,” said Pastor David Peterson. “We hope a large crowd will join us on the afternoon of the 15th to help us celebrate this historic event."

With the membership and attendance both up sharply over the past few years, the congregation recently increased the parking area and is planning additional improvements, including walkways to the new front entrance, additional parking and an expansion of the vestry to accommodate larger crowds at church functions.  Anyone wishing to donate toward these improvements may make a check payable to North Perry United Methodist Church and mail it to Karen Raye, North Perry UMC Treasurer, 63 Sunset Cove Lane, Perry, ME 04667. Please note if you would like your contribution to be recorded as in memory or in honor of someone special.

Any questions about the October 15th dedication ceremony may be addressed to Pastor David Peterson (454-0596), Church Council Chairman Kevin Raye (214-7900) or Lay Leader Tessa Chaffey Ftorek (853-2525).

BEFORE. The North Perry Church pictured this spring, with the foundation poured awaiting construction of the new entrance and steeple. (April 2017)