Feb 28, 2023 - News

Grant to help preserve historic Black church in the Central District

A photo of a white church with pointed roof and tower emerging from roof with a red door, mounted on a gray background.

Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Photo courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

A church in Seattle's Central District is one of 35 historic Black churches receiving a grant this year from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

What's happening: Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, located at 1716 23rd Ave., has always been "a hub of the Black community" in Seattle, the church's pastor, Lamont Brown, told Axios last week.

  • He said the $100,000 grant from the National Trust's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will help keep it that way.
  • Brown said it is of vital importance to preserve places like the church as the rest of the Central District — a historically Black neighborhood — gentrifies rapidly.

Details: The church plans to use the money to add accessibility improvements such as ramps, as well as lighting and improved signage.

  • Brown said that will help people of all ages and abilities continue to access the church for worship services, prayer meetings and other community events.

Context: A press release announcing the grant said the idea behind the nationwide program is "to recognize and celebrate the Black church for its contributions on American life, culture, and history, while also investing in their physical permanence and financial sustainment into the future."

  • Additional churches will receive grants from the fund's Preserving Black Churches program in the coming years.
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