Last April, over one hundred people gathered to learn about caring for historic churches and synagogues at a workshop called Preserving Religious Properties convened by WHALE, the city of New Bedford, the Inter-Church Council and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.
The workshop and multiple meetings with the Mayor and with religious and philanthropic leaders have shown that there is great interest in helping New Bedford’s churches and synagogues be as vital and sustainable as possible. WHALE and its partners have been working since to organize and obtain the funding to bring a full scale series of workshops called “New Partners New Dollars” by Partners for Sacred Places, a national organization dedicated to the sound stewardship and active community use of America’s older religious properties. The program consists of four days of training for congregations that are seeking to learn how to unleash their unique heritage as a tool for restoring their infrastructure, recruiting supporters, and revitalizing their community. The workshops will be scheduled in March and September of 2014 to allow the congregations to do work necessary to implement what is learned from the program. WHALE, the city, and the Inter-Church Council will be on the ground to help each congregation develop and implement their plans.
Funding for New Dollars New Partners is being generously supported by grants to WHALE from The Island Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Community Foundation. If you are interested in learning more and getting involved in this dynamic strategy to restore historic religious buildings call WHALE at 508-997-1776.