TEMPLE, TX — Central Texas communities often reflect the churches within them ... many of whom have stood for over a century.
Something the City of Temple is now taking steps to recognize.
”The district is now designated as a historic district," said city spokesperson Kiara Nowlin. "There is only one other historic district in the City of Temple. So, the African American Churches Historic District is the second in our city.”
The African American Churches Historic District includes Eighth Street Baptist Church, Wayman Chapel A.M.E, and Corinth Missionary Baptist Church.
All of which have been serving the community since the 1880s.
”We were organized in 1881, somewhere about," said Dr. U.C. Barnes, pastor of Corinth Missionary Baptist Church. "Right now, according to the records, we’ve been here for 141 years.”
It’s that long history of community service that the city is working to preserve by giving them the same protections that other historical landmarks have and access to grants that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
”To really recognize and acknowledge the historic and cultural significance of these places and the district in general,” said Nowlin.
Dr. Barnes has been the Pastor of Corinth Missionary Baptist Church since 1990.
Decades of service to the church that has stood for nearly a century and a half and led by those who came before him.
”Those that came before me have laid the foundation," said Dr. Barnes. "My job is to do the same thing and keep building on that foundation that has already been laid. So, I feel honored to have been here for 32 years.”
He has a message to whoever might lead in his place next.
”Show the love of God through you. Your church will take on your personality. If you are loveably Pastor, they’ll love you the same way.” said Dr. Barnes.
All three churches have been serving the Temple community since the early 1880s and the city has now ensured that history continues for many years to come.