Sacred Places Winter 2019 - Page 9

Indiana is playing an important role in elevating the challenge posed by vacant and endangered religious buildings regionally and nationally.” He notes that his organization owns several vacant churches, and has restored a large and important church—the former Central Avenue United Methodist Church—for its headquarters in Indianapolis, so Landmarks knows this challenge well. With two major grants from Lilly Endowment, Inc., Landmarks has served dozens of sacred places across the state, including 29 that have participated in the year-long New Dollars/New Partners program and qualify for planning and capital grants for their buildings. The director of SPI—David Frederick—has worked with churches from 42 counties to date, spreading the word and providing advice and resources across Indiana. He is, in effect, serving as the Johnny Appleseed for the state’s historic churches, encouraging congregations to see new ways to maximize the value of their buildings. Frederick was an early pioneer in serving historic sacred places, first in his capacity as director of the Indianapolis office of Landmarks in the early 1990s, when he planned and managed educational workshops for congregations. After working in other sectors for years, he returned to Landmarks in 2015 to manage SPI. The core of SPI’s work is New Dollars/New Partners for Your Sacred Place, a training program developed by Partners for Sacred Places that builds the capacity of up to ten congregations each year, followed up with grants to plan and execute important repair and restoration projects. Teams of leaders from each congregation gather four times during the year to learn how to articulate their larger civic value to neighbors and local leaders, develop new programs by connecting their building assets with assets in the larger community, and prepare for a capital campaign. To supplement the training, Frederick visits each church, sometimes United Hebrew Temple, Terre Haute, Indiana Photo: Indiana Landmarks several times, to help them think about ways to connect their building assets to organizations and programs in the community, plan their capital projects, and extend and diversify their fundraising. Frederick has noted again and again that his program can “lift the curtain” for congregations, helping them see the larger possibilities for activating church spaces and working with the larger community to serve people in need. Some of the congregations that really embraced the asset-mapping approach have gone furthest with SPI’s resources, such as United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute, which developed an interfaith program that has included the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. St. SACRED PLACES • WINTER 2019 9 9