Archive for Monday, February 16, 2009

Church taking up collection to preserve historic building

‘Open hearts and wallets are going to save the church’

Church members exit the St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, 900 N.Y., after Sunday services recently. The historic East Lawrence church is in need of maintenance to save the century-old building.

Church members exit the St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, 900 N.Y., after Sunday services recently. The historic East Lawrence church is in need of maintenance to save the century-old building.

February 16, 2009

Advertisement

Group rallies to preserve historic church

A group of Lawrence residents are close to raising enough money to keep a historic church standing. Enlarge video

St. Luke AME Church members, from left, Gloria Evans and her husband, Jerry, greet the Rev. Verdell Taylor Jr. after services on Feb. 8. Leaders of the historic church in east Lawrence hope to collect $75,000 before next year to meet a fundraising goal for repairs to the building.

St. Luke AME Church members, from left, Gloria Evans and her husband, Jerry, greet the Rev. Verdell Taylor Jr. after services on Feb. 8. Leaders of the historic church in east Lawrence hope to collect $75,000 before next year to meet a fundraising goal for repairs to the building.

Funding sources

  • Private donations: $45,000
  • Save America’s Treasures: $100,000
  • Heritage Trust Fund: $60,000
  • Total: $205,000
  • Total cost: $280,000
  • Needed: $75,000

Towering above the pastel wooden homes of east Lawrence, a red-brick Gothic-style church serves as a reminder of Lawrence’s vibrant, conflicted past.

But St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church is, in the words of one local historian, falling down.

“The people that built it 100 years ago built it with dedication, love and hard work,” said the Rev. Verdell Taylor Jr. “It’s our job now to make sure it remains standing and we continue to have place to worship.”

Some of the formerly enslaved men and women to first settle in Lawrence established the AME congregation in 1862. The present-day structure was built in 1910, a few blocks from the original.

Since then, the building has undergone a series of renovations, including the installation of a flat roof and the repositioning of the pulpit. As the church’s stability continued to decline, the need for restoration became apparent.

“The church is literally falling down,” said Bill Tuttle Jr., professor emeritus at Kansas University. “We’ve devised a plan to save it. Now we’re just trying to get funding.”

In the past four to five years, the Second Century Fund, a group of church members and local historians, has raised more than $205,000. An additional $75,000 is needed to fund construction.

The group hopes to complete its fundraising before next year, when the church celebrates its centennial.

“At this crucial time, open hearts and wallets are going to save the church,” Tuttle said.

Among the church’s early members was Langston Hughes, a renowned poet of the early 20th century, who spent some of his early years in Lawrence. In Hughes’ “The Big Sea,” he claimed the AME church of his childhood helped influence his later writings.

The church was also involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and it continues to hold meetings for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In 2006, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places, one of Lawrence’s 46 buildings on the list.

“It needs to be fixed because it’s a historic part of Lawrence,” said church member Leonard Monroe, 77. “It’s something we can all be proud of here in Lawrence, black and white.”

Monroe has attended the church for 67 years.

“I would love to see it go back to the way it was,” he said.

Comments

oldtimer39 6 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to donate to the renovation but I can't find any information in the article on how to do so. Is there a Web site or contact person?

flux 6 years, 3 months ago

I like how even the Christains even seperate themselves between back and white. Wouldnt God be proud.

George_Braziller 6 years, 3 months ago

I think you send your donation to the Second Century Fund in care of the church. I received information on it a couple of years ago so I don't remember exactly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

It says on their sign out front that all are welcome, invictus. As long as you leave your white robes at home, that likely applies to you, too.

George_Braziller 6 years, 3 months ago

From an article that appeared in the Capitol-Journal: "Donations can be sent to St. Luke A.M.E. Church Second Century Fund, P.O. Box 2102, Lawrence, 66044. Information is available by calling (785) 766-8958 or e-mailing ">stluke@sunflower.com"

hawklet21 6 years, 3 months ago

invictus, that was a really stupid comment. Learn a little more about the church before you start pointing fingers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

It was founded when segregation was strictly enforced, invictus. Simple as that.

earline james 6 years, 3 months ago

They're having a Black History Month/Gospel Music event on Sunday, Feb 22 at 3:30. I read about it in the last East Lawrence Neighborhood Association newsletter. All are welcome.

sammie914 6 years, 3 months ago

This AME church has welcomed folks of all backgrounds without any questions. I attended this church a few times when visiting in Lawrence and no one ever made any comment about my color, or lack thereof!! They always made me feel welcome. Some of you should check it out. You will be warmly welcomed!!

Reuben Turner 6 years, 3 months ago

well correct me if i'm wrong; but hasn't the church recieved some big bucks in the last couple of years to help with the maintenance and such? i just don't seem to understand how they could still be in this situation. every weekend, looks like, they have a fundraiser of some sort. what happened to the tithes and the offering(malachi 3), do the members give? seems to me they need to start a cutting back program of some sort. find out whom and what they can stop paying on the monthly-weekly and have folks do more volunteer work.y'all get it together, the community has been supporting; where has it's money been really going??; GBWU!!!

MyName 6 years, 3 months ago

The more invictus tries to defend himself, the more he needs to defend.

Why don't you just step away from the keyboard and use this time to extract your foot from your mouth invictus?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

I've never been to one of their church services (or anybody else's for quite a while, for that matter) but I've heard their choir a few times, and they rock.

ksdivakat 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow.....I had no idea the word "negro" was still a word that was around, Im a betting woman, and I would wager a bet that if invictus used the term "negro" around any black folk, that they would swiftly teach him a lesson!!

brainy_smurf 6 years, 3 months ago

What??? A church asking for money??? Is this a new concept???

Commenting has been disabled for this item.