John Barnes with Rocking ChairParishioner John Barnes comes to almost every service and work party along with our eldest member, Lois Gardner. Last week he said he had some time to dedicate to fixing and refinishing one of the churches many damaged furnishings.

He selected this beautiful old rocking chair to hand sand and finish. We’re so happy to see someone donating their time to give this particular piece the TLC it deserves and we’re confident that John will do a stellar job making it look like new again.

There were several times that I was working on site and would seek out this chair to take my break sitting in. It was obviously used in the nursery / daycare section of the church. Although the chair itself it solid hardwood, it was made with great care and attention to comfort. Every time I sat in it I couldn’t help but wonder how many mothers and volunteers sat in that same chair gently rocking many little lambs off to sleep.

The chair is as comfortable and it is beautiful. The back was right at the perfect angle. The contoured seat was hand crafted to the shaped for comfort. The smooth glide of the rockers allowed for nearly effortless movement. And the arms of the chair were thoughtfully shaped and placed at just the right height to accept the cradled arm of mother.

Thanks to our friend John, it looks like this memory-filled rocking chair will see many more years of use.

May God bless you all.

Galatians 6:10 ~ So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.



Scott's LullAnother prayer answered!!! One of the pressing needs at the church site is adequate equipment that can do the heavy lifting and get workers and material high enough to make the necessary repairs, safely.

Last Saturday, in between the raindrops, I met with Graftonites Scott and Christina MacDonald to look at the Lull Fork Lift pictured to the left. After about an hour we had it purring like a kitten. Everything worked fine except for one snafu with the front forks, which is currently being fixed by other church supporters with a good working knowledge of heavy equipment hydraulics.

Mr. & Mrs. MacDonald were gracious enough to offer us the use of this fantastic piece of equipment from now in to the Summer. If final repairs go as expected, we’re prayerful that we’ll have the Lull on site by this coming weekend and ready for work. This will be an enormous help when it comes to roof and siding repairs.

On behalf of church members and the community, thank you so very much and may God bless you for your sincere generosity.

Additionally, while on the MacDonald’s homestead, I couldn’t help but notice they too have some sizeable projects going for themselves as well. So I may be taking a few days off this Summer to help them and I’d like to invite our church members to join me because that’s what family does.

Proverbs 28:27 He that gives to the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.

NOTE: The church volunteers that evaluated the issue with the front forks said that two pairs of hydraulic line couplers ($100) and 30 gallons of hydraulic fluid ($250) would be needed to fix the projected problem. If you’d like to help us with these items, there are two possibilities for you to consider. 1) Since both of these things can be purchased right at the local Tractor Supply, supporters can always send a TS Gift Card to the church; and 2) Supporters can always make a much appreciated secure online contribution here.

Peace, Love, and may God bless you all.



Maria and Dave and FletcherSaturday we were blessed by another beautiful day and a visit from Pastor Connell’s daughter, Maria. Maria and John made the trip all the way from Salem Massachusetts to spend the day.

First we took a quick tour of the church building to see all the progress we’ve made since her last visit. Then I tended to some routine chores and ran a few errands while they gathered Pastor Connell’s personal belongings.

We had several opportunities to talk about the past and share old stories of her Dad’s many adventures. Each story ended with a laugh or smile. Nobody ever accused John Connell of being boring or uneventful so there was no shortage of warmhearted stories to share with each other.

John 16:33 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

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Edmund BennettThis week I was accompanied by my friend Chris from Massachusetts who helped us at the Church. This morning, Resurrection Day, I ditched him early in the morning and headed for the Church. Those that know me well know that my Sunday Service usually includes a ride into the woods with my quad and a Bible.

However, today, Fletcher (my pooch) and I decided to go to the Church. I let my friend sleep in and we just hit the road. Spring birds were chirping and the sunrise was glorious. Fletcher curled up on the seat of my truck in the sun spot and I made my way straight for the upstairs Sanctuary.

I pealed back the giant pool cover that was donated to the Church to cover the pews and took my seat.

Every day I volunteer at the Church, after hearing all the different stories from locals who stop by to share their memories within the building, I continuously picture all of the souls that occupied each nook and cranny, over the past 218 years. Countless weddings, sermons and memorials were held in the upstairs Sanctuary. I see cheerful worshipers buzzing around the downstairs community room during Church suppers. I see young toddlers playing in the kids area. I see two centuries of believers walking through the front doors and ringing the bell for the Lord, each with a grand smile as their chime echos through the New Hampshire mountains and into heaven itself.

The energy of over two centuries of worshipers can be felt in every room of the building!

So I closed my eyes and praised the Lord for my life and loving me despite my sins and then I focused on those souls that would have filled the pews beside me many times over. As I interacted with the same Holy Ghost that interacted with so many before me, like every day, I could feel their energy all around me.

As the whispers of a thousand Amen’s faded to the sound of tarps rustling in the breeze, I opened my eyes and knew that the body of Christ would celebrate God’s glory within those walls for a long time to come.

I pulled the cover back over the pews and headed down the spiral stairs that the little kids called their secret path. I spent a few minutes with Fletcher and then gathered my tools from the truck and set out to meet my cleaning goals for the day.

Several hours later a car stopped in front of the Church and an older gentleman approached me. He introduced himself as Emund Bennett and went on to tell me about how his mother used to play the organ for the Church when he was a little boy. I brought him on a tour of the Church and listened as he reflected on his many experiences and the different layouts and uses of the Church’s space that he could recall.

I had a great Resurrection service and a truly blessed day. Again, I get to actually meet a fellow worshiper whose spirit connected us through the Holy Ghost.

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Arnold Graton AssociatesSeveral days ago I started making calls to numerous timber framers here in the northeast to seek advice on the needed Church repairs associated with the large structural timbers. One of the companies I contacted knew Arnold Graton, one of the areas foremost authorities on old timber frame buildings and bridges.

As a result, I received a call bright and early this morning from Mr. Graton. He just happened to be on his way through the area to look at another job and offered to stop by the Church and share some of his expertise with me. This was truly a blessing because he’s under great demand for his time, given his extensive knowledge of old building and wood bridges.

So we spent about an hour looking at the impacted timbers and discussing the options available to us. His words were music to my ears! After evaluating the most damaged areas, Mr. Graton said that everything he saw could be easily fixed using traditional techniques and traditional native wood species too.

Basically he said that each of the impacted timbers could probably be cleaned and the joint area carefully shaped to receive laminated patches or Scarf Joints. According to Mr. Graton, Douglas Fir would be traditionally used for this type of repair because it has similar engineering characteristics as the original Chestnut beams.

Mr. Graton was a wealth of information and I really enjoyed our discussion. Despite starting a big bridge project in Kentucky, he agreed to make himself available for any questions I have as the rebuild effort continues. What a nice guy.



This gallery contains 1 photo.

According to official fire department estimates, there was only 20% fire damage to the Church. The Church was built in 1798 and the structural timbers are all old growth Chestnut. The Purlins are all native 2-side flat Hemlock and the … Continue reading

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Lois Never Misses A Work Party

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Our eldest parishioner, Lois (92), has never missed a weekend work party at the church. She always makes something homemade and refreshments for the workers. She often credits the Peaceful Assembly Church as the first Church she ever felt comfortable … Continue reading

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It took several hundred trips to the dumpster, but volunteers finally removed and disposed of the debris and frozen insulation that used to cover the Sanctuary pews. A gracious donor gave us a very large pool cover that fit perfectly … Continue reading

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Chris from MassachusettsNow that the nice Spring weather is here, church organizers are hosting weekly work parties every Saturday at the Peaceful Assembly Church. Volunteers are asked to wear appropriate clothing and show up any time from 8 a.m. to dusk.

Many hands make lite work and there’s a lot of different projects to help with. Since our members and the Grafton community are so fold of the vintage character of the historically rich 1798 colonial church, our goal is to make as many in-kind repairs as we possibly can. Therefore much of the original wood features of the interior are being salvaged, refurbished, and prepped for later re-installation.

Please bring a friend and join the group as we set out to restore our beautiful church back to its original glory.

Pictured above is a supporter that came up from Massachusetts, two weeks in a row, to help us secure the roof and attic area. Thanks Chris!

Thank you and God Bless!

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