Downtown New Bedford festival to highlight 'immediate' needs of aging churches

September 15, 2016 by Tim Mikulski

The First Baptist Church with its 1928 addition.

photo by: Caryn Davis

Many people are aware of the home of Robert's Rules of Order and two other properties in historic New Bedford, Massachusetts, but they may not know that all three are in need of significant repair. So, a group of community leaders came together to host the Upper William Street Neighborhood Festival on September 24 to raise awareness about the repair needs.

Organizers decided to make the event free in hopes of raising awareness for future fundraising campaigns to help Gallery X (a former church), First Baptist Church (a National Treasure), and First Unitarian Church. According to South Coast Today:

"A capital campaign for the First Baptist Church Restoration will start in October. The campaign will be conducted jointly with Your Theatre, Inc., which announced an agreement to buy the building last November, through a collaborative effort with the city and WHALE. Teri Bernert, executive director of WHALE, said since that time, the Massachusetts Historical Commission has approved initial restoration plans for First Baptist, paving the way for a $250,000 state tax credit announced in July. Bernert said the total project cost could be about $1.4 million. The upcoming capital campaign will include promotion of First Baptist as the birthplace of Robert’s Rules of Order, long the gold standard for parliamentary procedures used in municipal meetings, the business world and elsewhere."

It's wonderful to see all of the progress being made with the National Treasure and if you're in the area on September 24, be sure to stop by between Noon and 4:00 p.m. for the event!

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