Friends of Sacred Structures helps preserve Midtown churches

At this week’s Troost Alliance meeting, Friends of Sacred Structures member Joanie Shields discussed the founding and work of the Friends of Sacred Structures. FOSS helped the Revolution United Methodist in Westport, among others in Midtown and elsewhere, preserve and maintain their building.

Many churches in Midtown serve the community around them by providing meals, social services and community.

But these same churches face challenges keeping their buildings in good repair.

That’s where Friends of Sacred Structures (FOSS) comes in.

FOSS actually got its start in 1992, when some churches were closing and others were struggling with upkeep.

“ One of the preachers told us he didn’t learn anything in his training about how to take care of the church,” FOSS member Joanie Shields told the Troost Alliance meeting yesterday.

FOSS helps restore churches, she said, and it provides stability to neighborhoods and families who rely on the services those structures provide.

Friends of Sacred Structures has a technical team made up of volunteers. These architects, engineers, electricians and others offer free assessments of sacred buildings, and also help manage renovation and repair projects.

FOSS also helps educate the public about the artistic and cultural value of historic sacred buildings in the area.

The first project the organization took on was the White Oak Chapel, a church built in 1992 by the descendants of slaves. Although the chapel was slated for demolition, FOSS helped preserve it by getting it moved to a new site.

FOSS has now helped 160 churches in Kansas City and the surrounding area.

This map shows the churches Friends of Sacred Structures has worked with in the Midtown area.