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United Baptist Church of Poultney - National Fund For Sacred Places
2017 Cohort

United Baptist Church of Poultney

Poultney, Vermont

The United Baptist Church of Poultney in Poultney, Vermont, has been a central part of its community for over 200 years.

United Baptist Church of Poultney by Chuck Helfer
United Baptist Church of Poultney by Chuck Helfer
2017 Cohort

United Baptist Church of Poultney

Poultney, Vermont

The United Baptist Church of Poultney in Poultney, Vermont, has been a central part of its community for over 200 years.

In 1802, 34 people no longer willing to continue traveling 8 miles to worship in a neighboring town founded the United Baptist Church on the village green. Builder Elisha Scott of Connecticut designed a Federal-style church for the congregation in 1805, employing local builders and using locally sourced lumber. Scott’s design was inspired by an illustration from Asher Benjamin’s “A Country Builder’s Assistant,” with a monumental entrance pavilion and attached Wren-type steeple. Upon the completion of construction, the church also served as a meeting house for freeman’s groups in the area and as a school. United Baptist Church bore witness to many important events on the village green, including military trainings, the apprenticeships of Horace Greeley and George Jones at a nearby printing press, and social gatherings.

Relative to the congregation’s size, United Baptist Church has an enormous impact on its local community. Parishioners organize backpacks of school supplies for low-income families, host summer concerts and community meals, distribute food through the Community Food Buying Club, and hold civic functions in collaboration with other nonprofits such as the Poultney Historical Society and the Horace Greeley Foundation.

A National Fund grant of $100,000 with over $200,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation allowed United Baptist Church to refurbish and weatherproof the building envelope. The project rid the building of rotted historic woodwork, which had developed from ongoing water damage. The entire building was repainted, and all windows were sealed and restored. According to the congregation, National Fund-supported work has “increased community involvement and excitement in using this community building as a gathering space.” The fundraising skills United Baptist Church developed in this program will help the congregation complete additional projects to repair the roof and replace the chair lift in the sanctuary.

United Baptist Church of Poultney by Chuck Helfer
United Baptist Church of Poultney by Chuck Helfer

A Postcard Tour of Historic Houses of Worship

The vast quantity of postcards depicting historic houses of worship is best evidenced through the James R. Tanis Collection of Church Postcards. The collection of more than 20,000 postcards illuminates the range of religious architecture in the United States from monumental cathedrals to one-room meeting houses. Read more for a postcard tour highlighting the history and significance of select congregations in the National Fund for Sacred Places.

James R. Tanis Collection of Church Postcards

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez