West Point First Baptist Church has a long history in the river town and now area residents are trying to keep it upright.

A fundraising effort has begun to help restore the church that has been vacated from Sunday services for a few months, West Point History Mu­s­eum president and cur­ator Monie Matthews said.

The church was built in 1894 by slaves and children of slaves, Matthews said.

“We are concerned about it as a 125-year-old building,” he said, “and would hate to have it fall down.”

The church at 311 Lillie Lewis Way next to Star Cafe in West Point, it is in danger of collapsing, Matthew said. The roof is in need of repair first and then additional work other areas of the building need to stabilized.

The goal is to raise $7,000 through an online campaign with money being collected for West Point History Museum in order to repair the roof.

“The $7,000 is just a Band-Aid,” Matthew said. “If we don’t do something now, there won’t be a need to restore it.

“We’re working on a short time line, I know,” he said.

Matthews said he expects there are two or three weeks before the damage to the church could be beyond repair.

“It’s unsafe right now to be in,” he said. “It’s right at 125 years old and we’d like to keep it as part of the town.”

Matthew said most of the church members are in their 80s.

To contribute, go to bit.ly/2OaeAoR. As of midafternoon Thursday, $1,790 of the goal had been raised in two days.

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.

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