Historic African American Church Seeks Public’s Help for Needed Repairs

One of Springfield’s historic African American churches is in desperate need of repairs, and the congregation is asking the public to help them restore the community landmark.

Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church began in 1847 when a group of slaves received permission to start a church. They built multiple buildings over the next 60 years, before building the current structure in 1911.

Once part of a quartet of black churches in the same part of town, Pitts is now the only one that still has a gathering congregation. Two of those churches, Washington Avenue Church and Benton Avenue AME church, are now part of Drury’s campus and used for non-church purposes. The third, Gibson Chapel, was recently demolished.

Pitts Chapel’s ceiling is falling in because of water damage. The church had placed a drop ceiling in the sanctuary but the falling plaster began to punch through the drop ceiling forcing the congregation to meet outside of the sanctuary for safety reasons.

The church is hoping to not only make the necessary repairs to the ceiling, but make long-overdue upgrades to the lighting and wiring in the building, and add a wheelchair accessible bathroom. There are also other minor repairs that will need to be made related to water damage.

If you would like to find out how you can help Pitts Chapel, visit the church on their Facebook page.

(Pitts Chapel photo from their Facebook page.)

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