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Photo courtesy of Trinity United Methodist Church

Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is among the initial recipients of a grant from the National Fund for Historic Places.

Program fund will help save America’s historic churches


January-February 2017


Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is among 14 initial recipients of grants from the National Fund for Sacred Places to assist aging churches in need of repair and restoration.

The initial group of grantees was announced on Nov. 2, 2016, at Chicago's historic Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, another recipient. Churches may apply now for the next round of grants to be awarded in the fall of 2017. The Fund will provide up to $250,000 in capital grants for at least 50 individual congregations representing a diversity of faith communities over four years.

The awards come from part of a $14 million fund announced by Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to assist aging churches. The Indiana-based Lilly Endowment Inc. launched the Fund with two grants totaling nearly $14 million. Through this initiative, $10 million will be disbursed for capital improvements, with the remainder used for planning, technical assistance, coaching and program oversight.


Trinity Church will receive a planning grant to help advance its project, pro bono consulting services from the National Fund for Sacred Places and participation in training on best practices for leading a capital campaign. The church will also be eligible to receive a capital improvement grant for up to $250,000 this year. There will be a non-competitive application process for the grants.

"The needs at the church are large," says the Rev. Ruth Marsh, Trinity pastor. The historic church hosts school and community events, religious and secular concerts and speaking engagements, in addition to a loyal congregation. "We need to completely replace our roof – not just little patch jobs – and much of the rest of the building is in need of renovation. There's also stone work that is needed, and our building is one of the few remaining that was built out of rhyolite, a volcanic rock indigenous to this area."

The National Fund for Sacred Places is a collaboration that builds on Partners for Sacred Places' decades of work helping churches use best stewardship practices with their historic facilities in order to strengthen, serve and celebrate with their communities for the common good. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is the nation's leading preservation organization with more than 60 years of advocacy and grant making to preserve America's diverse history.

"We are delighted to join in this partnership with Partners and the Lilly Endowment to help more sacred places thrive, now and well into the future," said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Churches are often both the oldest and most beautiful buildings in our communities. They are the rock that continues to sustain us as a people, bringing us together in service and worship."

Read more about the details of the application process, eligibility requirements and selection criteria.