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Mayor Sarno, CDO Sheehan and Rev. Avery Announce $500,000 ARPA Award for Historic MLK Community Presbyterian Church

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Development Officer (CDO) Tim Sheehan joined with Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery, Pastor of MLK Community Presbyterian Church, to announce a $500,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) nonprofit award for the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church. The church was the victim of arson and hate crime in 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic and amid COVID-19 related shutdowns.

Funding will help go towards the rebuilding efforts of the church.  The church, located in the Upper Hill neighborhood, is in the Qualified Census Track (QCT).

Mayor Sarno states, “As my administration did previously with helping to support the Macedonia Church recover and rebuild following the 2008 election night arson and hate crime, I am proud to once again stand in solidarity and support Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery and our MLK Community Presbyterian Church after the senseless arson and hate crime.  This major announcement of $500,000 in ARPA funding will help to enhance the efforts to rebuild and restore this historic and significant community church to its glory so that it may continue to serve our community and help heal the hate that some individuals have in their hearts.  I would also like to again ask/challenge our community and philanthropic institutions to join with my administration to step up once again and help this historic property and church through the process of rebuilding.  It won’t be easy but together our Springfield community has proven, ‘that yes we can.”     

CDO Tim Sheehan stated, “The MKL Church is such an important part of the Springfield community and its rebuilding after losing so much to racism and hate is imperative.”

Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery said, “The Bible says in all things give thanks. It has been a huge undertaking to rebuild our church home. Though there are still strides to be made to meet our financial goals, we are certainly grateful to God, the Mayor, and his office for this significant contribution. All that is poured into the reconstruction of this church will be returned to the community by offering mental health, educational, financial, and recovery programs to name a few. We are still accepting funds and are grateful for how the community has galvanized and supported us. It will take the community’s voice and continued financial support to rebuild this church and ministry so that we can continue our legacy of building leaders and caring for the needs of the Springfield community.”

The church, named in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was recognized for over 40 years as a staple of the Mason Square community and a place of worship where community based civil rights were combined with the power of faith and raised in prayer.

Funding will be used to restore areas of the church that were previously used for community outreach activities.  These include the kitchen and the meeting space in the basement of the church.  In these areas MLK Church undertook youth development activities and serving the underserved in the community.  

The MLK Church ARPA Nonprofit Application was determined to be highly advantageous in the following areas; the severity of covid impact, the strength of the planned use of the ARPA funding, the experience and stability of the organization and its minority representation.

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Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm