Several Black churches will receive a total of $4 million in grants to preserve their buildings and for future projects, reports Religion News.
On Monday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund announced the first 35 recipients of the Preserving Black Churches grants. The project was underwritten by the Lilly Endowment for $20 million. The announcement coincided with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“We focus not only on the preservation of the physical buildings, but also on the profound stories embodied in their walls, landscapes, cemeteries and beyond,” explained Brent Leggs, Executive Director, of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and Senior Vice President. “Their role as centers of Black religion, culture and service is fundamental to understanding the lived experience of Black Americans."
Ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, the grants will assist Black churches across the nation with much-needed repairs on their historic buildings.
“Leaving an indelible imprint on our society, historic Black churches hold an enduring legacy of community, spirituality, and freedom that continues to span generations,” said Leggs. “The Action Fund created the Preserving Black Churches program to recognize and celebrate the Black church for its contributions to American life, culture, and history, while also investing in their physical permanence and financial sustainment into the future. We are honored to award our first round of grantees with the resources needed to ensure the Black church continues to stand in its fullest glory.”
Theodore Debro, Chairman of Trustees at 16th Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama said their congregation plans to raise $2 million over a two-year period to preserve the church’s history, and the grant will help the endowment campaign in a major way.
"Since we are a small congregation, we really need to have some funds and some resources to maintain the buildings,” Debro said. “It’s one that we need to share with our children and preserve for our children.”
Below is a complete list of churches that have received the grants.
Endowment and Financial Sustainability Grant Recipients
First Immanuel Lutheran Church Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, New York, New York
Organizational Capacity Building Grant Recipients
Cory United Methodist Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Capital Project Grants Recipients
Leake Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Anchorage, Alaska; Old Ship African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Montgomery, Alabama; Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, Los Angeles, California; Old Mount Carmel Baptist Church (Pleasant Street Civil Rights and Cultural Arts Center), Ocala, Florida; First Bryan Baptist Church, Savannah, Georgia; Centerville Second Baptist Church (Historic Preservation Corporation), Centerville, Iowa; Burks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Paducah, Kentucky; Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church, New Orleans, Louisiana; Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church (Foundation for Appalachian Ohio), Nelsonville, Ohio; First African Baptist Church, Beaufort, South Carolina; Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Seattle, Washington; First Missionary Baptist Church, Hayneville, Alabama; Manzanola United Methodist Church, Manzanola, Colorado; St. Rita Catholic Church, Indianapolis, Indiana; Scotland African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Potomac, Maryland; Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Akron, Ohio; Halltown Memorial Chapel (Halltown Memorial Chapel Association), Halltown, West Virginia; St. Stephen African Methodist Episcopal Church, Wilmington, North Carolina; Ebenezer Methodist Church (Lee Haven United Methodist Church), Townsend, Delaware; Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church, Cave Spring, Georgia; Mount Zion United Methodist Church, (City of Belton), Belton, Texas; Varick Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Brooklyn, New York
Project-Planning Grants Recipients
Old Sardis Baptist Church (Old Sardis Revitalization Community Development Corporation), Birmingham, Alabama; Euclid Avenue Christian Church (East Mount Zion Baptist Church), Cleveland, Ohio