Archived Story

Aging church far more than just a building

Published 12:45am Sunday, October 28, 2012

The old Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Burlington may look like nothing more than a small, aging wooden structure with peeling white paint that has seen better days.

In fact, it is so much more.

The church, built in 1849, is a vital link to Lawrence County’s heritage and was once a symbol of freedom for African Americans escaping a life of slavery. A key part of the Underground Railroad, the church has connections to many of Lawrence County’s most famous abolitionists and other prominent citizens.

Last week, vandals — most likely teenagers or children — desecrated the venerable house of worship by spray painting the number 666, a makeshift pentagram and “church of evil,” among other things.

This senseless act of vandalism is about more than just damaging the building. It came close to destroying our history.

Because the church is somewhat isolated on Burlington-Macedonia Road it becomes an easy target. But we, as the entire county, must try to do our part to preserve this link to the past.

That may require some more community watch efforts in Burlington. It may mean making some improvements that allow the building to be better secured, even if those aren’t exactly in context with the historical appearance of the structure. It may mean finding a way to use or showcase the building more frequently to ensure there are people there more often.

This important chapter in Lawrence County’s history could be lost forever if we allow it to be destroyed.

We must ensure that doesn’t happen.

The Tribune believes it is possible for people with a variety of points of view to discuss issues in a civil manner and will remove comments that, in our opinion, foster incivility. We want to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas. Responsibility for what is posted or contributed to this site is the sole responsibility of each user. By contributing to this website, you agree not to post any defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, sexual, threatening or illegal material, or any other material that infringes on the ability of others to enjoy this site, or that infringes on the rights of others. Any user who feels that a contribution to this website is a violation of these terms of use is encouraged to email report-comments@irontontribune.com, or click the "report comment" link that is on all comments. We reserve the right to remove messages that violate these terms of use and we will make every effort to do so — within a reasonable time frame — if we determine that removal is necessary.

  • Poor Richard

    IT you have described most of the useless thugs in this county – senseless. I would further that by saying cowards.

    Do they think that citizens would be impressed by their acts? trembling at their minimal knowledge of satanism? Impressed by their boldness? Really tuff until they are caught and brought into a courtroom in handcuffs, thats when the cowardness shows it full colors. “Oh please judge, we didn’t mean it”

    I believe this is the oldest African American church in Ohio, but not 100% sure. It is beautiful in its setting surrounded by trees. Makes a wonderful photograph and certainly is filled with history. I’m guessing the church members don’t play up attention to the church for this very reason — idiot vandals.

    There are many people statewide that would likely donate to provide funds for a security system or other protective services for the church.

    (Report comment)

Editor's Picks