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Kadesh African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2016 Cohort

Kadesh African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Edenton, North Carolina

Kadesh AME Zion Church was the first Black congregation in Edenton, North Carolina, and the center of religious and social life for the community.

Kadesh AME Zion by B. Garrett, SHPO

Kadesh AME Zion by B. Garrett, SHPO

2016 Cohort

Kadesh African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Edenton, North Carolina

Kadesh AME Zion Church was the first Black congregation in Edenton, North Carolina, and the center of religious and social life for the community.

Founded in 1866, the congregation purchased land and erected a small frame church in just six years. By 1897, Kadesh AME Zion had outgrown its original church and commissioned Hannibal Badham Sr., a congregant and member of a pioneering family of Black builders, to construct a new Gothic Revival church. The Edenton Normal and Industrial School occupied structures behind the church from its founding in 1895 to its closure in 1928. This school educated Edenton’s African American children, many of whom became important contributors to the town, state, and nation.

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel severely damaged Kadesh AME Zion, leaving parishioners unable to worship in the building and forcing the congregation to place the historic furnishings and arched windows in storage. The congregation continues to worship and lead programming from a temporary location nearby as it works to restore its historic building. Kadesh AME Zion runs a Ministry of Kindness, which funds emergency groceries, clothes, and mortgage and rent payments. The congregation also regularly hosts Girl Scouts meetings, blood drives, and forums on physical and mental health and well-being.

Kadesh AME Zion is ready to complete repairs to the hurricane-damaged church and return home. A National Fund grant of $250,000 with $500,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will facilitate a complete structural stabilization of the building, including some upgrades for anticipated lateral forces from future hurricanes. Work will include foundation repairs, wall bracing, framing repair to the west wing and balcony, new wall sheathing, exterior wall siding repairs and replacement, and roof replacement. The structural stabilization is a critical first step in the complete restoration of Kadesh AME Zion, which will allow the church to “resume its ministry in its generations-long neighborhood,” according to the congregation, and to support the vitality of the whole community, which retains familial and emotional attachment to the church.

Kadesh AME Zion courtesy Kadesh AME Zion

Hurricane-Battered Church Still in Need of Repairs

Hurricane Isabel ravaged the East Coast nearly a decade ago, and in Edenton, N.C., its effects are still seen at the Kadesh African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Kadesh AME Zion courtesy Kadesh AME Zion

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

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