A church steeped in Edenton history is on its way to becoming one of America’s 11 most endangered historic places. If that happens, Kadesh A.M.E. Zion. could be on it’s way toward rehabilitation.
The Edenton Town Council unanimously passed a March 12 resolution that supports the nomination of the 1897 church — which sustained heavy damage during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 — to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 most endangered historic places.
The National Trust began maintaining the list in 1988 and has so far identified 242 sites that warrant saving.
Edenton Councilman Sambo Dixon, who is a member of the National Trust’s Advisory Council, made the request for the resolution.
“Kadesh is in jeopardy of not being restored,” Dixon said.
Dixon said that if successful the effort to add Kadesh to the list could bring new resources to the table that could result in the completion of restoration work at the church.
“It’s an enormous honor to get on that list,” Dixon added.
Members of the congregation continue to worship together at a new location on Badham Road, but they still consider the old Kadesh church on East Gale Street their spiritual home, Dixon said.
He said that while the historic church needs significant work before it can resume its original purpose, “They (members) hope and feel that (the Badham Road site) is a temporary location. Anything we can do to help them come back home, we need to do.”
Councilman Bob Quinn agreed that the congregation would benefit from the church’s restoration. So, too, he said, would the town.
“It would mean a tremendous amount to the community,” Quinn said.
In 2011, the Rev. Edna Lawrence, who was serving as pastor at Kadesh when the hurricane struck, said that the 65-member congregation would have had to raise $800,000 to fund the necessary repairs in two phases.
Phase I of the project that cost about $267,000 resulted in the stabilization of the church’s foundation as well as repairs to the roof and other parts of the building where water leaks were a problem.
The congregation was able to pay for that work with the aid of insurance funds and a $200,000 bank loan.
Despite subsequent fundraisers over the years, church members have not been able to raise the additional funds necessary to restore the church’s interior.