BELTON, Texas — The City of Belton announced on Tuesday it received a $100K grant for the preservation of the historic black church, Mount Zion United Methodist.
Belton Mayor Wayne Carpenter says the responsibility falls on the congregation for these efforts, but the city often finds ways to assist in times of need.
"Anything that we could do from the city perspective, to help them get grants to make it easier to get that done was very important to us," Carpenter said. "This church has been part of this community for over 130 years, It's probably the oldest black Methodist congregation in the state of Texas."
In fact, the church is 178 years old, as Pastor Patrick Russell explained to 6 News.
The building didn't start in Belton, but since the congregation began in Texas, it's officially the second oldest church in the state as it just celebrated its 178th anniversary back in November.
"It's very important to the black community," Pastor Russell said. "It's, like I said, the oldest church in the area, so it's been around more than any other church that's here in Belton. So it has a historical presence and a historical meaning especially to the Harris Community Center."
Russell and Carpenter say the money will go towards much needed church renovations.
Russell says the church needs new windows, doors and a new ceiling. Being an older building, the breakdown was inevitable, but he's excited to se it revitalized.
"It needs a lot of work actually, as it got older, you know, things wear down. We need a new ceiling, the windows, the doors, everything," Russell said.
He says the church was once a gathering place for the community with big pot luck dinners, and community events and he hopes those traditions can come back in a big way.
"Oh, yeah. Biggest potluck in Texas. You'll see it," he said.