Robbinsville – Graham County’s oldest church may soon receive some much-needed repairs.
At Tuesday’s Graham County Board of Commissioners meeting, Robbinsville United Methodist Church Pastor Eric Reece discussed the possibility of using funds from the Partners for Sacred Places Preserving and Strengthening the Cultural Heritage of Sacred Places in Central Appalachia program for needed work on the church, which is thought to have been built in 1875.
Reece gave the presentation in lieu of Old Mother Church Pastor Teddy Silver, who was unavailable at the time of the meeting.
“I was excited because the Old Mother Church was just perfect for this program,” Reece said.
“(Silver) knows that he needs to get some work done, but in the past there has been some confusion over who exactly to talk to to get that work done.”
It is still being determined who exactly owns the land the church is built on.
“I’m hoping that maybe because of this, the Old Mother Church could either build some ownership or some responsibility
of the building ... and maybe the community in general will see as the Old Mother Church continues to be taken care of and preserved for the future,” Reece said.
Reece said only 10 churches would be selected for the program, region-wide.
Areas eligible for the support include western North Carolina, East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky and all of West Virginia,The program is open to both active and historic sites,
“I want to apply to the program, and hopefully they’ll accept us,” Reece said. They’ll only accept 10. We could apply and get some money to make needed repairs.”
He also said it was possible that the Old Mother Church and its adjoining cemetery could be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“Together they’re eligible,” Reece said.
He said to get onto the National Register, both the church and cemetery would have to be proposed jointly, as neither would be eligible separately.
“We’ve got a few sites, but it wouldn’t hurt to have one more.” Reece said.
Project Manager Jason Marino also discussed the ongoing $5 million justice complex project, giving the board the most recent set of plans for the facility. The board will meet again regarding the project at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1.
“It has a lot more than the previous one that I provided, it has information one how they came out with their design,” Marino said. “Tire’s really a lot of information in this document.”