JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A historic church in downtown Jackson is celebrating a major milestone.
Towering over the downtown area for the past 159 years, First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, has been a big part of the Jackson community.
“This building will be here for a long time to come,” said Rev. Kerry Taylor-Snyder, the church’s pastor.
Sunday morning, the church dedicated and unveiled its National Register of Historic Places plaque.
The building was recently named to the register, which is a national list of historically-significant places across the country that are worthy of preservation.
“Not everybody can be on the national register, so of course it’s an honor,” said church member Marilyn Guidinger.
With services starting at the building before the Civil War, it’s one of Jackson’s oldest churches.
“It’s beautiful. The interior is also very striking,” Guidinger said.
The church’s significance goes beyond just the building.
The pastor says it has also played an important role in Jackson’s social history.
The church has been involved in social issues since it started, from anti-slavery to women’s rights, and more recently, LGBT equality.
“Bring change into our world and make it a more just and loving place. We continue that still to this day,” said Taylor-Snyder.
The national recognition comes as the church raises $268,000 to preserve the building for future generations.
“I’m happy to report we’re over $183,000 raised, and we’re continuing to do fundraising,” Taylor-Snyder said.
The pastor sees the church as more than just bricks, pews, and stained glass.
“We also celebrate the 160 years of its congregants that continue to come forward, and do the work of bringing love and peace into our world,” Taylor-Snyder said.