Often built in the center of town near the local post office or town hall, rural churches were designed with community gathering in mind. In small towns like Sheridan, Wyoming, and Abbeville, South Carolina, with populations fewer than 20,000 people and congregants living across wide geographic regions, going to church meant reconnecting with friends and family, accessing free resources, and participating in service projects to better the region.
Gleaming stained-glass windows with images depicting familiar Bible stories are to be expected in most Christian churches. But a closer look at the windows at Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reveals something else.
Two more community-serving congregations have completed critical repairs and upgrades thanks to the National Fund for Sacred Places. In November, National Trust staff completed virtual site visits with United Baptist Church of Poultney, Vermont and First Covenant Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Members of both congregations reflected that the project outcomes far exceeded their expectations in terms of fundraising, impact, and outreach.