Right now, many other Japanese Buddhist temples across the Hawaiian Islands are in a period of decline. Rebirth is uncertain. At one time they were social hubs, “but that changed,” Rev. Reyn Yorio Tsuru says. The number of active temples has dwindled from almost 200 to about 50, as the congregations age and shrink. “A lot of temples are going to have to make the decision to continue,” Tsuru says. “Do we even want to continue?”
In April 2023, the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Preservation Technology (APTNE) led a tour of First Presbyterian Church of Stanford, and we wanted to bring you along to marvel at the “Fish Church” and its bejeweled interior.
For many, the act of listening to or performing music is often described as something sacred. In many religions around the world, foundational sacred texts and stories feature music as a recurring theme, and music has become an engaging way of expressing prayers in worship services. The natural connection between worship and music has grown over time as sacred sites have doubled as rehearsal and performance spaces which welcome broader audiences and foster cultural enrichment. Read more about National Fund participants and their connections to music.
Due to the success of the National Fund for Sacred Places, and the continued strong demand for grants supporting historic sacred sites, in January 2023 the Lilly Endowment Inc. renewed and expanded its financial support for the program so that by 2027, the National Fund will have awarded more than $40 million towards the preservation of community-serving historic houses of worship nationwide. To celebrate the renewed and expanded funding, and to further highlight the success of the program, here are five National Fund projects completed in 2022.
$20M in Capital Grants to be Awarded to Historic Congregations through the National Fund for Sacred Places
Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are delighted to announce that Lilly Endowment Inc. has renewed its support for the National Fund for Sacred Places, extending the program through 2027 and doubling the amount of capital grants available to congregations to more than $20 million. During the next five years, the National Fund will continue to support vibrant congregations that have buildings of historical significance and architectural character, and that play an essential role in meeting the larger spiritual, social, and economic needs of the communities they serve.
This article highlights two National Fund participants who completed capital projects in 2022: San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson, Arizona and Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. From the Sonoran Desert to the bustling streets of Baltimore, the two projects offer a glimpse into how the National Fund works with congregations across the United States to support the continued care and use of their historic properties as centers for community life.
The activity of stewarding sacred places has anchored New England communities for centuries. How are religious institutions innovating in their work and renewing their physical space to ensure relevance to communities in the 21st century? Watch Emily Kahn, the Program Coordinator of the National Fund for Sacred Places, speak about participating National Fund congregations as community assets at the Historic New England 2022 Summit.
National Program Will Award Over Two Million Dollars in Grants to 16 Historically Significant Congregations Across the U.S. in 2022
The National Fund for Sacred Places is pleased to announce its 2022 grantees, totaling $2,165,000 in funds awarded. Sixteen historically significant congregations have been admitted into the prestigious program, which provides capital grants of up to $250,000 and hands-on technical assistance to congregations undertaking significant preservation projects.
For Chicano Movement activists in the 1960s and ’70s, the Church of the Epiphany in Los Angeles’ Lincoln Heights neighborhood served as an important base. Over the decades, many Central American worshipers joined the longtime Mexican American members, and today the congregation’s leaders still advocate for social justice. The Rev. Tom Carey, a diocesan priest who has led the church for the past 12 years, stepped down in June; we spoke with him shortly beforehand.
Religious institutions have served both as a platform for the advancement of women’s rights and opportunities, and women have played critical roles in advancing religious traditions. The leadership and community building opportunities within these sacred sites have been critical to increasing female independence outside of the home and allowing women to develop institutions that strengthen their congregations and broader communities. The four historic houses of worship highlighted embody positive examples of how the histories of women and religion are inherently linked.