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Historic Church Faces Major Repair Issues

A central Arkansas church with roots dating back to slavery is struggling to keep its doors open.
MORRILTON, AR -- Members at Saint Paul A.M.E. church in Morrilton want to save their place of worship. They want to preserve the structure to tell future generations this was once a place for free slaves in 1876. "It's important to maintain the integrity of the church so that our children will know where we came from," church member Charlotte Kinder said.

Even though the music still fills the sanctuary walls, the 138 year old church struggles to stay open. Repairs throughout the building total $10,000. "We need to repair the plaster that keeps messing because the water comes through there," Kinder said.

If the repairs are not made, members fear what could happen. "You can't have it both ways. Either you maintain the building or you let it go," church member Perry W. Brown said. That's a reality members hope they never have to face when deciding the church's future. "It arrived and survived through the sacrifice and dedication of numbers of members," Brown said. The first members of the church built it with the hope of it lasting for years to come.

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