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Historical churches under renovation in Cairo

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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CAIRO, IL. (KFVS) - A continuing effort to save an important piece of Cairo’s History.

Work’s underway to renovate two of the city’s more than 100 year old churches.

The Jesus is Lord Free Will Baptist Church currently sits in the old Immanuel Lutheran Church sits right off the main strip.

“This church was the pillar, one of the pillars of Cairo. And so we want to get it back to that stature again,” says Wayne Maddon.

Maddon serves as co-pastor of the Jesus is Lord Free Will Baptist Church.

The one-hundred-and twenty-five year old church stands alone along a block of empty, overgrown lots. The church was built in 1896.

After buying the church for just a dollar five years ago, Maddon says the goal now it to return the building to its original glory.

“We glad to have this passed on to us. This is not a hand me down, this is a hand up. This is a great thing for us to do. To get this church back together and get it back to the glory that it once was,” says Maddon.

Maddon says they need $30,000 to repair the roof and make other upgrades.

Hubert Pirtle is bishop-elect for the church, he talks about how the small church is working to preserve what they have.

“It’s not a very big congregation but we’re all pulling together, to try and get this building restored,” says Pirtle.

Roughly 6 blocks away, another historic church is also targeted for renovations. Work on the A.M.E. Ward Chapel is being taken on by the Cairo Historical Preservation Group.

Pirtle tells me, preserving both churches is vital to Cairo’s future.

“If Cairo keep going down, and don’t nothing stand up and keep standing, let people know that Cairo was a great city, cause you look at this church. One time Cairo was one of the top River towns that we had,” says Pirtle

Both men say they now need the public’s help to finish their work and keep their city’s legacy alive.

“It’ll be a lost to the city of Cairo and southern Illinois if we cannot get the work done to keep it going,” says Pirtle.

“And the glory days of Cairo will come back. And when they do come back, will god help this church will still be standing,” says Pirtle.

Donations for the church can be dropped off at the parish.

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