A side view of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church shows much needed repair to the old structure that was constructed in 1849.
A side view of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church shows much needed repair to the old structure that was constructed in 1849.

Archived Story

Historic church may become county property

Published 9:27am Monday, June 24, 2013


BURLINGTON — The current owners of the historic Macedonia Missionary Church on Macedonia Road want the Lawrence County Commissioners to take over ownership of the church.

The church was put on the National Register in the 1970s. It was a place of worship for slaves who found their freedom in the Burlington area.

Now a group of churches from Huntington, W.Va., have asked the commissioners if they will take the church.

That request prompted the commissioners to seek an opinion from Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson on whether or not the county can accept a donation of land.

According to Anderson’s office, the Ohio Revised Code allows that “a county may receive by gift, devise or bequest monies, lands or other properties for their benefit.”

Since the county can accept the church, Commission President Bill Pratt said the next step is to determine what the current owners expect the county to do with the property.

“If we accepted the Macdeonia church it might be possible to apply for a Nature Works grant like the city of Ironton to get the water on the hill,” Pratt said. “We are checking into that.”

The Fayette Township Trustees are working to bring water lines into 26 households on Macedonia Road. Currently those homeowners have well water or water carried to their homes.

The church owners and the commissioners plan to discuss that matter at the commission’s Thursday meeting, which this week will be in conjunction with the Burlington Concerned Citizens at the Commons park at 6:30 p.m.

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  • Doubting Thomas

    Last evening (6/27/2013) was at the Concerned Citizens of Burlington Area last evening as well as a goodly number of other Burlington citizens, Lawrence County Commissioners and other interested parties. I was appreciative of Mr. Calvin Vincents of Charleston, W.Va. remarks about the history of the Burlington Macedonia Missionary Church and what it means to the community as a whole but I was not appreciative of lecturing tone of Mr. Vincent’s demeaning lecturing us about the responsibility of the community to this old historic structure especially the accusation that the community needs to step up and preserve this structure’s integrity. The community has stepped up with a group of non-members in recent years with a successful fund raising effort that replaced the roof of this church. Most recently several men, of which I was one, from the area were alarmed at the criminal mischief vandalism enacted on the interior of this old church on the hill. We went to Mr. Vincent and requested permission to repair the damage vandals and time had done to the church and was turned down flatly with some empty excuses. At least one of the members of the group spent over a $1000.00 to replace the door and offered to organize other improvements and repairs to the structure and surrounding infrasturcture. When we were turned down by Mr. Vincent the door was returned to the vendor and all efforts ceased to go forward. I am insulted by the statement and insinuation by Mr. Vincent that someone needs to step forward to assist in this effort when, in fact, he is the very obstruction to it’s repairs. It is time that foolish pride and a desire for victimization to cease in this community so we can move forward for true loving interpersonal relationships. This kind of confusing divisive attitude must stop if we are truly to come together and heal the divisions in the community by stopping the perpetration of ‘us versus them’ mentality. There are organizations and people in this community who want and are willing to help but the desire for self-aggrandizement is getting in the way of progress.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Lets hope this Historic church does not go the route of Memorial Hall. I think Poor Richard has an excellent idea in regard to the Lawrence County Historical Society. Lawrence County has shown it’s incompetence in the past when it comes to preserving Historical sites as Memorial Hall demonstrates.

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  • Poor Richard

    In my opinion, citizens of Burlington and all in Lawrence County should be very skeptical about the future use of that property if turned over to the County. As we have seen in the Ironton area, local officials have one opinion of historic property – demolish it, cut every tree in sight, scrape all the top soil off and dump over a hillside and then stick some nasty metal building on the site.

    There should be an iron clad contract or deed restriction to maintain the historic integrity and safety of the church.

    If I am not mistaken, this is the oldest African American church in the state of Ohio and with that said there are likely many state and federal organizations that would provide funds for its preservation and security.

    The donators of the property should consider too that future county commissioners may have a completely different opinion and use for that property and have little appreciation for its history.

    It would be sad too if something happened to the church while in the care of the county because I would have serious considerations as to whether its demise was ‘planned’.

    Lawrence County has 100s of churches that could get together and come up with funds to preserve the church and to make repairs. I suspect that congregations would even be willing to donate their time to work on the structure to maintain its historic architectural integrity.

    Did the donators rather consider donating it to the Lawrence County Historical Society?

    (Report comment)

    • Doubting Thomas

      Mr. Calvin Vincent, caretaker of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, informed the Lawrence County Commissioners and Concerned Citizens of The Burlington Area on Thursday June 27 2013 that there was not offer to donate the church to the County.

      (Report comment)

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