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Detroit's historic Christ Church receives competitive grant for revitalization

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 25, 2022

DETROIT (WXYZ) — One of Detroit's historic churches made the short list for a competitive national grant. Christ Church is one of 16 historic houses of worship nationwide selected to receive $100,000 in funding.

It's from the National Fund for Sacred Places through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Anyone who’s driven down Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit near I-75 has likely seen the historic structure.

“The church was founded in 1845," church rector Emily Williams Guffy told 7 Action News.

With age comes the need for upkeep. Upkeep takes money. So, Guffy said she and a team of seven other people applied for the $100,000 grant that would help with revitalization.

Their prayers were answered.

“It’s a huge boost, very meaningful boost. We just have launched a capital campaign where we aim to invest $2.7 million in our facilities, so that they can be used not only by our congregation but by the city of Detroit," Guffy said.

Guffy said the funds will go toward Ledyard Hall's renovation. The hall is a former gymnasium and kitchen used as a community space within the building.

“We want to restore it in full to its glory. This building has always been the site of community gathering, youth programs, education, hospitality," she explained.

Back in 2020, St. Joseph Shrine near Eastern Market also received the grant for revitalization. It was also one of 16 historic places of worship to benefit that year.

Guffy said she's honored Christ Church was selected as a finalist.

"We have learned that Ledyard Hall, which is coming up on its hundredth birthday, is needing a roof for its birthday and new windows and other elements of its envelope. Keeping water out and keeping the interior intact," she explained.

Guffy added, "I also dream of opening a food pantry to better meet the needs of our neighbors."