Historic St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church

Let’s Rebuild God’s House God’s Way

Ezra 3:7-13, Nehemiah 2:11-20

Historic St. Paul AME Church to Receive $140,000 
From African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

$4 Million Awarded to Help Protect 31 Historic Black Churches across the country.


Lexington, KY - Today, we are proud to announce that Historic St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church has received $140,000 in funding from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
This funding will support the restoration project to preserve a site that was established as a place of worship and refuge in 1820 in a horse stable.  The building was built in 1826 with hidden rooms and passages above the sanctuary. According to oral tradition, the hidden areas served as a sanctuary where enslaved people could hide while escaping from bondage. The site is a rare example of Underground Railroad history.
Since 2017, the Action Fund has raised more than $91 million in philanthropic funding, and serves as the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places.
“This project began out of the 2014 Servant Leadership workshops, and out of those workshops, the church created a strategic plan. A part of that plan was the Preserving & Restoring of the Historic Building along with tours to educate the community. “said Rev. Dr. Stephanie M. Raglin, Pastor of the Historic St. Paul AME Church.  “Once the grant feasibility assessment was done in 2018, we entered into an agreement with Kiser Engineering, Inc. as our consultant & UK College of Engineering to study our rehabilitation of the building. And the work continues thanks to grant opportunities such as Preserving Black Churches. We give all praise, honor and glory to God for his continued blessings as we strive to be a continued beacon of light in this community through our rich history and service.” 

“We created the Preserving Black Churches program to ensure the historic Black church’s legacy is told and secured. That these cultural assets can continue to foster community resilience and drive meaningful change in our society,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “We couldn’t be more excited to honor our second round of grantees and ensure that African Americans – and our entire nation – can enjoy an empowered future built on the inspiring foundations of our past.”
“Black churches have been at the forefront of meaningful democratic reform since this nation’s founding. They’re a living testament to the resilience of our ancestors in the face of unimaginably daunting challenges,” said Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., historian, and advisor to the Action Fund. “The heart of our spiritual world is the Black church. These places of worship, these sacred cultural centers, must exist for future generations to understand who we were as a people.”
See the full list of this year’s grantees and site descriptions here.
Historic St Paul AME Church is an affiliate of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, originally founded by people of African descent, and is a religious denomination that welcomes and has members of all ethnicities. The AME Church grew out of the Free African Society (FAS) established in 1787 after several Black members left St. George Methodist Church in Philadelphia, PA, in protest of the lack of freedom to worship without racial discrimination. In 1793, AME Church Founder Richard Allen led members of the group who wanted to remain Methodist to form Bethel Church which later became Mother Bethel AME Church and a center for Underground Railroad activity among AMEs in the tristate areas of north central Kentucky, southern Indiana, and Ohio together with their Quaker allies.
About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund: African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that works to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American resilience, activism, and achievement. With more than $90 million in funding, the Action Fund is the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places.


To learn more about our mission to tell the full American story, visit: