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181-year-old Hollis church’s newest renovation keeps it in the family

Every year Bear Hill Church gets a new improvement, but this year’s project is extra special due to the painter’s family ties to the church.

HOLLIS, Maine — The outside of Bear Hill Church in Hollis now has a fresh coat of paint for parishioners to enjoy. 

The 181-year-old church has been slowly renovated by the Bear Hill Church Restoration Group, which takes on a new project each year. These renovations are accomplished through donations, memorial donations, grants, and traditional fundraisers.

Last year, the group had the foundation sills replaced by Lee Hoagland, a restoration carpenter from Buxton. The timbers were donated by Bear Hill Lumber. 

This year, the fresh coat of paint is a big project for the group and is planned to be finished right before their annual ecumenical service on August 1.

The painting business contracted for the project was Bradbury Painting from Windham. The owner, Craig Bradbury's family, were original parishioners back in 1840. His uncle, Lloyd Bradbury of Hollis is an active member of the restoration group. In addition, the August 1st service will be led by Rev. Glen Bradbury, who will be the pastor for the day, assisted by two of his sons who are also pastors.  They will also be joined by the Bradbury Women Singers, with Lloyd Bradbury at the keyboard, and the church’s antique pump organ.

Craig Bradbury was able to donate the supplies and manpower to the Bear Hill Church Restoration Group to help the latest renovation happen.

“To put this all together, that is just such a big bundle of history and a lesson to today’s kids of being proud of where you are, going after what you want and making it come out well,” Anne Hannaford, the President of the Bear Hill Church Preservation Group, said.