The Senior Trainer for the organization Partners for Sacred Places, Sarah Peveler, visited Greensboro on Thursday for a familiarization tour of the Gate City’s religious sanctuaries. The visit was by request of Preservation Greensboro as part of a community-wide effort to facilitate local congregation’s efforts to manage and preserve their historic sites.
Partners for Sacred Places is the nation’s only non-sectarian, non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship and use of America’s old and historic religious properties. The organization was formed in 1989 by a national task force of religious, historic preservation and philanthropic leaders. It has served several thousand congregations across the country by representing the needs and concerns of older, community-serving sacred places.
Peveler noted that the grand scale, quality of design, and diversity represented in Greensboro is unusual for southern cities. The existing inventory of historic sanctuaries represents work from architects such as S. W. Foulk of Pennsylvania, Hobart Upjohn of New York, Otis Clay Poundstone of Atlanta, and Henry V. Murphy of Brooklyn.
In her Greensboro tour, Peveler was shown a wide selection of sacred places, including and not limited to exterior visits of sanctuaries for Buffalo Presbyterian Church (1827), West Market Street Methodist Church (1893), Skeen’s Chapel Holiness Church (1910) [image, right], Temple Emanuel (1923) [image top], First Presbyterian Church (1928), Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church (1950) [image lower, right], First Friends Meeting (1953), and Shiloh Baptist Church (1960).
Greensboro’s congregations face a number of issues related to the care and stewardship of their facilities, including long term planning and campus management, the accommodation of rising or declining memberships, and specialized technical advice for traditional building methods such as slate roofs, copper or brass accessories, and historic stained glass.
Considering the extraordinary diversity and quality of Greensboro’s historic sanctuaries, Peveler has agreed to work with Preservation Greensboro in developing a program to meet the specific needs of the community. Perhaps a training program or workshop can be developed for 2009 as a service to the long-term conservation and care Gate City’s religious sites.
In the meantime, headway is being made in understanding the diversity and significance of sacred places in Greensboro through a planned tour this autumn. A Preservation Greensboro-sponsored tour will highlight selected sanctuaries to cultivate a broader understanding of craftsmanship, architecture, and the social stewardship of the Gate City’s congregations. Stay in touch with Preservation Greensboro to learn more about this important and interesting preservation initiative.