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Historic church in downtown Savannah undergoing $600,000 renovation

Community News posted on 10/21/19

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - If you’ve walked near City Market in downtown Savannah, you might have noticed a historic church under construction.

The almost 250-year-old First African Baptist Church is getting some upgrades.

The steeple of the church has been removed and sits in the parking lot across the street while crews work to stabilize the building. 

The church says the renovations will cost upwards of $600,000 and they are expected to be finished by the second week of December.

“We haven’t done any major work on it since the late 1800s and early 1900s, but now we are having to in fact restore where the bell was. The bell tower had deterioration. Because of that deterioration, it really made the building unsafe,” said Pastor Thurmond Tillman. 

The church is continuing to meet inside, but they’ll have to relocate for crews to finish up during the last three weeks.

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Restoration begins for Savannah’s historic First African Baptist Church

Community News posted on 10/7/19

Among Savannah’s many historic houses of worship, the First African Baptist Church is especially unique — autonomously founded and built by slaves before the Civil War, this holy site has served as a sanctuary in numerous respects ever since the building’s completion in 1859.

However, time has taken its toll on this 160-year-old structure facing Franklin Square, so now a major restoration project is under way to repair and preserve the church inside and out. From reinforcing the leaky steeple to patching up aging stucco to renewing water-damaged ceilings, the total cost of this endeavor will reach $600,000, according to Rev. Thurmond Tillman, pastor of the church.

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First African Baptist launches restoration project

Community News posted on 10/7/19

The oldest black church in North America located right here in Savannah is undergoing a major renovation. 

First African Baptist Church is seeking the public’s help to assist with the growing costs. 


The National Historic Landmark was built in 1859. It was established by members of the congregation who were slaves. 

Construction is underway to preserve its rich history including its historic bell.

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Community Corner: Major restoration ahead for Savannah’s FABC

Announcements posted on 9/26/19

It’s one of the most historically significant buildings in Savannah.
First African Baptist Church has a long and storied history.
Now the landmark is getting an update.
Reverend Thurmond Tillman– pastor of First African Baptist– sat down with us on News 3 Today to talk about the church’s major restoration efforts.

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For Your Information September 18 - 24, 2020

Weekly Bulletin posted on 11/9/17

The FYI is the weekly newsletter for First African Baptist Church. Keeping you informed, the FYI provides the latest church news, an updated list of our homebound disciples, and spiritual encouragement along with the prayer scriptures for the week. For inquiries or submissions, please use the Contact Form below. Click link to view FYI.

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Community News posted on 11/8/17

Explore the U.S. Census Bureau's statistical data. QUICKFACTS provides easy access to facts about people, business, and geography. AMERICAN FACTFINDER helps search a massive amount of data at multiple levels of geography over time periods. MY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT has key stats by Congressional district.

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Tours posted on 9/20/17

All regularly scheduled tours are suspended until further notice. We encourage everyone to be socially responsible and to heed the guidance of the CDC to help eliminate the spread of COVID-19.

Please contact us if you need to reschedule or need a refund for a prepaid tour. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that you will have the opportunity to visit with us at another time. 

Grace & Peace


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