Historic Black Church Seeks Help to Fix Structural Problems

Trinity AME Church on 600 South

(KCPW News) A historic black church near downtown Salt Lake City is hoping the community will help it survive by fixing its drainage and structural problems. Pastor Nurjhan Govan of Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church on 600 South explains that when water began seeping into the church’s basement several years ago, it had a big financial impact by closing off the kitchen.

“Food sales were a major part of our additional revenue,” she tells KCPW. “A small congregation can hardly survive on the benevolence that people provide, particularly in an economic downturn, so being able to sell pies and dinners was a great source of revenue that we just had to let go.”

The church, which was built in 1907, estimates about 50 members attend weekly services.

Local architect Jim Child of JRCA Architects, which is located near the church, has volunteered his services for the renovation project.

“When we found this last year that they were trying to do some things to try to bring this building back to some of its former historical glory, and also to make it functional for some of the things we’re trying to do, we volunteered to help them try to pull some things together and kind of scope the project,” he says.

The Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable is helping fundraise for the effort, which is estimated to cost $250,000, though Pastor Govan says that’s expected to grow as they determine what needs to be fixed. An account has been established for donations at Zions Bank under “AME Church Fund.”