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Sacred Places Indiana awards $2 million in grants to help historic churches in Indiana

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Sacred Places Indiana (SPI) awarded over $2 million in grants to help seven historic churches and congregations in Indiana to address repair needs with their buildings.

SPI is one of the many programs administered by Indiana Landmarks, the nation’s largest statewide not-for-profit historic preservation organization, according to SPI Director David Frederick.

Indiana Landmarks was founded in 1960 to address the state’s disappearance of historic

buildings and landmarks. From preserving historic schools and neighborhoods to funding, saving, and celebrating African American sites throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks aims to keep the history of Indiana alive.

SPI is under the Indiana Landmarks umbrella. It was created in 2015 with support through Lily Endowment Inc. Indiana Landmarks collaborated with “Partners for Sacred Places” – Philadelphia-based organization – to create SPI. The program focuses on providing education and funding to historic churches and congregations in the state.

SPI teaches churches how to better understand, maintain, and grow their congregations, use their space creatively for community involvement, and provide funding to repair churches in need. Frederick talked about how important these places are to their communities.

“We would be much poorer communities, much poorer cities, if these churches closed,” Frederick said.

In 2022, Lily Endowmnet Inc. increased its grant donation, allowing Sacred Places to expand and create the Sacred Places Indiana Fund.

The Sacred Places Indiana Fund selected seven churches to receive the first round of funding. Churches from all over the state, including Indianapolis, Bloomington and South Bend, are receiving funds to aid in significant structural repairs, upgrade mechanical systems and restore major art pieces within the church.

First Christian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, received funding through the new program. Founded almost 200 years ago, First Christian Church focuses on community-based programs for youth and adults.

They are using the grant to repair the church’s heating and cooling systems to continue worship and community activities without interruption.

“I think churches provide so much in the life of communities beyond what it does for the people who attend that church. Our buildings are needy and maintaining those buildings is a barrier to continuing to provide those community services for so many congregations. So, these grants enable churches to take care of their historic buildings and continue to serve as community centers and faces of compassion,” said Kyrmen Rea, senior minister for First Christian Church.

Sacred Places is now accepting applications for another round of funding through their Sacred Places Indiana Fund. To find out more information and apply, visit www.indianalandmarks.org/about/sacred-places-indiana/. Applications are being accepted until July 15, 2024.

Contact Racial Justice Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-7847

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