Palestine church celebrates 100 years; structure in need of repairs

Local News

PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – A church in Palestine is celebrating 100 years of worship.

The Mount Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1921 and is close to the hearts of many.

“It’s the only one of its kind here in this community and in the state of Texas,” Tabitha Enge, project coordinator for the church said. “The AME congregation — the Mount Vernon AME congregation is the 3rd oldest congregation in the state of Texas.”

The congregation meets outside once a month to worship and talk about the future of the building.

“It was started from land that was given to the colored people by John H. Reagan and years later the AME separated from the union church and become Mount Vernon AME Church,” Enge said.

John H. Reagan was a confederate-era politician from Texas. He served as the postmaster general for the Confederate States of America until the Confederacy collapsed, and served in the U.S. House and Senate after that.

Now, the century-old church is in need of repairs. There is damage ranging from cracks in the walls to termite trouble. Builders estimate the total renovation cost to be over $1 million.

“My mother, she wants this church to be restored so that when her time comes, this is where she wants her services to be held,” President of the Mount Vernon Historical Restoration Committee Tony Evans said.

His mother, Ruth Evans, started going to the church when she was a child. Today, she’s almost 90 years old.

Phase one of the renovation process will start soon, with the goal of making sure the church stands for another hundred years and beyond.

There are ways to donate to the church for those who would like to do so.

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