Historic Black Church in Boston Up for Sale Amid Dwindling Congregation, Gentrification

After nearly 150 years of worship, an iconic Boston church is closing its doors.

Ebenezer Baptist Church in South End held its final service Sunday following the difficult decision to put the historic building up for sale. The house of worship, founded by formerly enslaved Blacks after the Civil War, is an official Black Heritage landmark and has remained one of the city’s most historically significant Black congregations, Boston 25 News reports.

Several parishioners said they’re sad to see it go.

“This church changed my whole life,” Harvey Lee Horsley Jr. told the station.

Fellow worshiper Barbara Hamilton recalled special memories of her time there, noting the “many life experiences.”

The church’s head pastor, Rev. Carl Thompson, said the news is especially painful because “[for] 148 years, people have been coming to this one spot worshipping” and are not ready to say goodbye. The building has survived many generations of change in this area that was once a hub for the Blacks in Boston. An aging flock and fast-gentrifying neighborhood have made things tough, however.

“The congregation has gotten older and declined because of gentrification, also because age of membership,” Thompson said, adding that only about 20 percent of the church’s members live in the community.

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Source: Atlanta Black Star