Sep. 1—Jeffris Family Foundation grant will help begin restoration
BURLINGTON — The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church has received a Jeffris Heartland Fund $12,450 matching grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation to help fund a historic structure report to assess the work required to restore the Burlington church.
Macedonia Missionary Baptist, established in 1849, is Ohio's first Black church and the only surviving antebellum Black church in the state. The building, which currently is vacant and in need of repairs, was listed as one of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites in 2020.
The historic structure report will help guide restoration efforts, ensuring that the project is aligned with historic preservation best practices.
"The reopening of Macedonia will contribute to telling a fuller story of southeastern Ohio's early development and to supporting regional heritage tourism efforts, where its rich history and contributions to the Underground Railroad can be recognized more broadly," Charles Linthicum, Macedonia trustee, said. "With August being Black Philanthropy Month, it's a perfect time to celebrate the official launch of this restoration effort, made possible by the Jeffris Family Foundation and other donors committed to preserving Black history in Ohio."
Established in 1979, the Jeffris Family Foundation works to preserve cultural history and heritage in the Midwest's smaller communities through the preservation of regionally and nationally important historic buildings and decorative arts projects.
"The foundation is pleased to be part of the restoration and partnering with the church's able leadership," Tom Jeffris, president of the Jeffris Family Foundation, said.
The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church restoration project is part of the Family of Funds of the African American Community Fund, which was founded by and for the Black community as one way to create opportunities for African Americans in Appalachian Ohio.
AACF, which was established at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio in January 2020, has also contributed to the Macedonia restoration project. For more information about Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org/macedoniachurch.
In June, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the state's capital budget bill into law, which included $100,000 for Fayette Township and the Macedonia Missionary Church renovation.