By Kim Walter -- email@example.com
Originally built in 1759, the Hopewell Meetinghouse has been completed renovated and will be rededicated this Sunday during Hopewell Centre Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends' annual Homecoming.
The Quaker group has done planning, work and fundraising for more than two years to make the renovation a reality, according to life-long member Jim Riley of Winchester.
"There's a lot of local history connected to Hopewell," he said. "A lot of early settlers coming to the area were Quakers."
The building has been used as a place of worship since its beginning, but throughout the years certain things, like the plaster, roof and floors, required attention. While the foundation is solid and usable, Riley said the only way to ensure its continued use was to complete a full-on renovation.
After members consulted with contractors, they chose Vintage Inc., a local company, to do the job.
"They worked very well with the traditional, old style," he said. "It was a perfect fit for us."
The group raised $92,000 in funding to make the renovation a reality.
"It's a wonderful building that's survived the Civil War, and other important events to our community," said Clerk of the Meeting, Becky Ebert. "You get a very special feeling there, you can feel the presence of those who worshiped there before."
The building is registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark and is designated as a Frederick County Historic Site. The Meeting worships there once a week.
On Sunday, a re-dedication will be held in conjunction with the annual Homecoming event, which gives Quakers who once were and still are a part of the group a chance to tour the building and reconnect with each other.
Silent worship will take place at 10 a.m., followed by a brief ceremony that will include a sharing of Friends' poems, stories and recollections of Hopewell past and present, and singing of a few hymns.
"It's like a family reunion, a chance to see old friends," Ebert said of the event. The public is invited as well, even if it's just to come see the historic meetinghouse. Doors will open until 4 p.m.
Visitors can also tour the graveyard close to Hopewell, and several Quaker items, like their cookbook, "Quake and Bake," arts and crafts and historical books, will be on sale.
A potluck meal will start at noon and will be held outside in the traditional Quaker fashion.
Riley said membership of the group has gone up recently, with current participation at between 80 and 90 people. More will be expected on Sunday, as some will come from Washington D.C. and other surrounding states.
"It will be a special day," Ebert said. "Everyone in the Meeting has played an important role leading up to this, and we're very happy with how it turned out."
The Hopewell meetinghouse is located on Hopewell Road, one mile west of Clear Brook.