This afternoon this blogger met the new owner of the former First Free Methodist Church, located at 140 Congress Street, on the Hill. His name is John Lendzion. Mr. Lendzion said he hasn’t determined yet how the building will be used in the future. But it won’t be a church! Because the former church is located next to the historic Observatory, there are restrictions as to what can be done with the 140 Congress Street.
He lives in Portland, although he is from Vermont. A pair of skiii rested against one of the walls in the foyer of the former church as though confirming his Vermont origins.
According to the city, Lendzion has been issued two permits. One is to demolish the interior of the building which is on-going. (As one reader pointed out to this blogger, in an email, how can a historic building get a building permit to “demolish” the interior of the building – apparently the church part of the building is not historic).
The other is a change of use permit. That has not been completed because, as written above, the future use of the building has not been decided. Several neighbors have speculated that it will be a bed and breakfast, a bar or a hostel.
Back on August 7, 2011 this blogger attended a Sunday morning church service there and wrote a post on this blog. The parishoners were mostly from Rwanda and Burgendi. Rev. Daniel Ruiz delivered a moving ceremony that day urging everyone to “move on” despite the pain of their past.
note: pls. read the footnote herein for more information.