Renovating Central Baptist

Wilmington, NC – Wilmington's oldest black Baptist church is one step closer to preserving its historic sanctuary.

Members of Central Missionary Baptist Church will cut the ribbon Thursday night on its restored manse.

The plan is for Central Baptists' congregation to use rental income from the house to fund the restoration of their own 100-year-old building.

The church suffers from water and termite damage.

Historic Wilmington Foundation co-signed on the loan to preserve the building. Executive Director George Edwards says religious groups face extra hurdles when it comes to preservation

"The church, without awfully, awfully creative financing can't take advantage of typically of any of the incentive programs that exist for homeowners and commercial buildings.

Edwards says older churches in downtown Wilmington are endangered by shrinking congregations and because the buildings require specialized and expensive rehabilitation.