By Teresa Holloway
PALESTINE – The Mount Vernon AME Church on Calhoun Street is the third oldest church of its kind in the State of Texas and has been designated a Texas Historical Marker, recorded by the Texas Historical Landmark Association and is a National Register of Historic Places designee.
The church is also on the 2015 Most Endangered Building list in the Preservation Texas efforts.
To help repair and restore the distressed building, the organization applied for and received a grant for $10,000. The City of Palestine is assisting with efforts to raise the matching funds for the repairs and with the restoration effort itself.
There will be a banquet on Nov. 3 at the Ben E. Keith Community Room to further assist in raising the necessary funds for repair.
The feast honors the historic landmark’s 143 anniversary and will begin at 7 p.m.
“Mt. Vernon AME church is among the most historically designated landmarks in the City of Palestine, carrying National Register, Texas Recorded Historic Landmark, and Local Landmark designations,” Palestine Historic Preservation Officer Jacob Morris said. “Due to concerted community effort, emergency structural stabilization has been accomplished, but a more needs to be done to return the church so it can continue to serve the community into the next century.”
Morris, Historical Architect Mark Thacker, Lydia Woods of the Texas Historical Commission and Anderson County Commissioner Rashad Mims will be guest speakers for the dinner.
Entertainment for the event will be provided by comedian Edwin Douglas, of Dallas. Douglas is a comic, producer, author and travels frequently performing gospel comedy.
There will be a silent auction at 6:30 p.m.
“Words cannot express the emotions I felt reading the notification of the generous grant award,” Enge said. “Tears streamed down my face as I thanked God over and over for the blessing and opportunity to move forward in Phase 1 of our restoration project. I’m looking forward to this year’s banquet which we are calling together, ‘Yes, we can.'”