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Appleton Episcopal Ministries Receives Preservation Grant

Jan 18, 2024

MACON, GA – Appleton Episcopal Ministries has been awarded a $50,000 planning grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The grant will assist St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Fort Valley in analyzing three connecting structures to address water infiltration, ADA accessibility, asbestos, and lead hazards, and building systems to help them prioritize future projects.

Appleton Missioner Julie Groce said “we are very honored to be part of this initiative and to contribute to the preservation of African American cultural heritage alongside 30 other deserving churches. St. Luke’s is the only Episcopal church in the nation to receive this grant for 2024.

“This current grant is a direct result of our ongoing work with the small, rural parishes of St. Luke’s and St. Andrew’s to assist in strengthening their capacity to serve the Fort Valley community, as previously funded by a 2022 grant from the Roanridge Trust.

“Without vibrant and committed parishes, there can be no strong community ministries to families and children. This is why Appleton began our work in Fort Valley nearly two years ago with the support and encouragement of the Bishop’s Office of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.” Constructed between 1939 and 1940, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was designed by architect Stanislaw Makielski, the exclusive architect for the American Church Institution for Negros. The church is tied to the Episcopal Church’s efforts to develop educational facilities for African Americans in the rural South.

Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, said “We created the Preserving Black Churches program in 2023 to ensure the historic Black church’s legacy is told and secured. That these cultural assets can continue to foster community resilience and drive meaningful change in our society. We couldn’t be more excited to honor our second round of grantees and ensure that African Americans – and our entire nation – can enjoy an empowered future built on the inspiring foundations of our past.”

According to Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., historian, and advisor to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, “Black churches have been at the forefront of meaningful democratic reform since this nation’s founding. They’re a living testament to the resilience of our ancestors in the face of unimaginably daunting challenges,” Gates said “The heart of our spiritual world is the Black church. These places of worship, these sacred cultural centers, must exist for future generations to understand who we were as a people.”

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

Since 2017, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has raised more than $91 million in philanthropic funding, and serves as the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places. The Fort Valley church grant is part of the $4 Million Awarded by the Action Fund in 2024 to Help Protect 31 Historic Black Churches across the country. Learn about all 31 grantees at Grants Help Ensure the Future of Historic Black Churches | National Trust for Historic Preservation (

Appleton Episcopal Ministries

The mission of Appleton Episcopal Ministries is to share God’s love by partnering with parishes in the Middle Georgia Convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta to promote the health, safety, education, and well-being of children and families.

Those parishes include All Angels, Eatonton; St. Stephen’s, Milledgeville; Christ Church, Macon; St. Paul’s, Macon; St. Francis, Macon; All Saints, Warner Robins; St. Christopher’s, Perry; St. Luke’s, Fort Valley; St. Andrew’s, Fort Valley; and St. Mary’s, Montezuma.

In 2017, The Episcopal Church designated Appleton Episcopal Ministries as an official Mission Enterprise Zone in recognition of its convocational approach to ministry. Appleton is headquartered at St. Paul’s Church in Macon, on the 1870 campus of the original Appleton Church Home for Children.

Don Plummer is the beat reporter for The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. If you have story ideas, please reach out to Don.

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