Stating Our Case:

In 1816, in a bold move of faith, 125 free and enslaved African Americans left the Montgomery St church in Georgetown due to discrimination to form their own congregation. Since inception, Mt. Zion UMC has historically been a hub of black self-determination, cultural and civic life, achievement, and social justice in the nation’s capitol. The current building was constructed by the hands of Rev. Alexander Dennis and other skilled black carpenters after the first edifice burned down. The property was purchased by Alfred Pope, a formerly enslaved person who became a prominent Georgetown businessman and trustee chair of the church. Although the immediate surrounding community has been gentrified over the past 50 years with a much smaller African American demographic, Mt. Zion aims to continue the great legacy and prominence of the African American community in the D.C metropolitan area and also to advocate for education of the last 2 centuries of Georgetown’s real history.

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We have been awarded a matching grant of $100,000! But we must raise the matching funds. You can help by donating to this prestigious and historic African American church. Click on the Giving Tab; Put "Sacred Places" in the notes. God bless and thank you for your generosity! 

Press Release - October 2021

National Program Will Award Over Two Million Dollars in Grants

to 15 Historically Significant Congregations Across the U.S.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, October 20, 2021The National Fund for Sacred Places, a program managed by Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is pleased to announce that 15 historic congregations across the United States have been selected to join this prestigious program. Each congregation is receiving a grant of up to $250,0000 to support its project and will be able to work with consultants at the Fund to ensure a successful outcome.

The National Fund for Sacred Places is a unique and highly competitive program that supports congregations with buildings that have historical significance and architectural character and that play an essential role in meeting the larger social, economic, and spiritual needs of the communities they serve. During these uncertain and turbulent times, both large and small congregations are being challenged to care for and share their historic buildings in new ways that benefit both members and their larger communities. The Fund recognizes their contributions and seeks to support their efforts.

"The 15 sacred places selected to join our Fund this year are more than beautiful houses of worship. They are irreplaceable civic assets that provide invaluable resources to their communities, sharing space for everything from COVID-19 vaccinations to nutritional food programs and child care programs," said Bob Jaeger, President of Partners for Sacred Places. "I am so pleased that we have tailored programs that preserve and uplift civic assets to improve communities and enrich lives. Over the next few years, the team at Partners for Sacred Places will work closely and collaboratively with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help awardees to renovate their buildings so they can grow their ministries and thrive for many years to come."

”The National Trust for Historic Preservation is proud to support the community landmarks and historic treasures represented by the 15 congregations joining the Fund this year,” said Paul Edmondson, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “These places, which include the oldest Protestant church in continuous use in the State of Idaho, a cornerstone of Reconstruction Era history in South Carolina, a Mexican-American landmark in El Paso, and our country’s Washington National Cathedral, illuminate the rich diversity of our American heritage and provide essential resources and services to their communities, particularly in these difficult times.”

In its sixth year, The National Fund for Sacred Places has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Lilly Endowment Inc. The Fund and its supporters are working together to increase America's awareness of the value, resiliency, and vital contributions congregations offer daily.

The National Fund participants for the 2021-22 program year are:

  • Amana Church Society (Middle Amana, IA)

  • Arch Street United Methodist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Calvary United Methodist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

  • First Christian Church (Columbus, IN)

  • First Indian Presbyterian Church (Kamiah, ID)

  • First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • Grace Episcopal Church (Newton Corner, MA)

  • Let Freedom Ring Foundation/First Baptist Church (Williamsburg, VA)

  • Mount Zion UMC (Washington DC)

  • Sacred Heart Parish (El Paso, TX)

  • St. Stephen United Methodist Church (Mesquite, TX)

  • St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church (Brooklyn, NY)

  • St. John's Lafayette Square (Washington, DC)

  • Tabernacle Baptist Church (Beaufort, SC)

  • Washington National Cathedral (Washington, DC)

    Please visit the National Fund for Sacred Places’ website to learn more about the program, participants, and the value of sacred places in communities across the country.

    About Partners for Sacred Places

    Partners for Sacred Places helps congregations and others with a stake in older religious properties make the most of them as civic assets that serve the broader community.

    About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, protects significant places representing our diverse cultural experience by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support.

    About Lilly Endowment Inc.

    Lilly Endowment Inc. is a national private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. In keeping with the founders' wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of

community development, education, and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion is to deepen and enrich the lives of American Christians, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe