Friends of Sacred Structures (FOSS) is dedicated to the preservation and renovation of religious structures, especially those that support vital neighborhood needs. FOSS helps organizations restore their structures to better provide stability and hope to children and families in Kansas City’s urban core and beyond.
The first major project FOSS helped complete was the White Oak Chapel. Built in 1912 by the descendants of slaves, the post-Civil War Chapel was scheduled for demolition. The FOSS team collaborated to move and preserve the sacred structure.
When Friends of Sacred structures, an outgrowth of Historic Kansas City Foundation, became an independent entity by incorporating in 1992, Elmer Denis was among the first to become involved in its formative years. His vision, enthusiasm and energy inspired many to serve and impressed those who benefited.
With his engineering background, Elmer took the reins of the Tech Services Team, providing evaluations and assistance to churches, mostly in the urban core, whose aging structures were limiting their ability to remain neighborhood centers, both for worship and many vital social service programs. For over twenty years, Elmer was the most visible representative of FOSS, visiting sites and keeping voluminous records regarding needs and recommendations for their facilities. Composed of volunteer architects and engineers, Tech Services has offered information and guidance not otherwise available to hundreds of religious communities with financial needs.
Elmer’s passing in late 2014 inspired a former board member to provide seed money for a memorial fund in Elmer’s name, with the funds designated to assist congregations working to address maintenance and repairs necessary to keep their buildings up to code. The first grant was made in December 2015 to Grace United Community Ministries, and the second grant was made in early 2016 to Stranger’s Rest Baptist Church. Grace United is using their funding to help cover the costs of some needed sanctuary repairs, stained glass window covers, and electrical system upgrades as detailed below. Stranger’s Rest Baptist Church will use their grant award to help pay for the replacement heater and A/C unit they needed for their church buildings. FOSS is currently seeking contributions for this fund so the organization can continue to offer monetary assistance to qualifying projects. Grant applications are also available here.
Donors wishing to help continue the mission may email or call to make a donation today to help churches directly in Elmer’s honor, firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-831-4752 ext 102. As a 501 (c)(3) organization, FOSS will provide a tax receipt, and accounting of dispensation of funds will be made available to all donors.
A huge thanks to Bruce Mathews for generously donating a portion of the proceeds from his gorgeous new book to support FOSS!
Windows of Kansas City: As Art, History and Inspiration showcases unique and masterful works of art. The art is stained glass windows found in churches, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and homes in Kansas City and communities within an hour’s drive. While the book features stunning photographs of the windows, it goes beyond to consider the stories behind them – who created them, to whom they were dedicated and the history of the buildings in which they are located.
Windows of Kansas City explores the qualities unattainable in any other medium. “The interplay of sunlight and glass magically changes with each cloud and ray of light. Depending upon the time of day, art glass windows reflect an enchanting variety of colors that enhance any building’s interior.” – Shirley Bush Helzberg
Words & Photos by Bruce Mathews – Foreword by Shirley Bush Helzberg
Hard Cover – Color – 11” x 9” – 224 pages – $27.95
A portion of the proceeds benefits FOSS – Friends of Sacred Structures
Kansas City Star Books – To buy your copy or for more information: email@example.com
Joanie Shields, FOSS Board Member, gave a presentation to the Troost Alliance on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 and they did an excellent article about the great work that FOSS has been doing in Kansas City over the last twenty years. Thanks, Joanie and Troost Alliance! Click here to read the article!
Join FOSS on May 15, 2013 at 8:00 am to 12:00 pm for a Free Workshop to help you preserve and improve your sacred structure at Grace United Ministries at 811 Benton Blvd, KC, MO!
Our experts will present on : Building Energy, Roofing Problems, and Building Care, discussing likely problem areas and offering cost effective solutions. Bring your maintenance team, your board and any other interested volunteers! All are welcome.
Light refreshments will be served at 8:00 am, and the first session begins at 8:30am. Free parking is located behind the church. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 13, 2013.
This is the 501(c)3 not for profit arm of Calvary Temple Baptist Church located at 30th and Holmes in Kansas City, Missouri. The church building was vacant in 1997 when FOSS provided the pastor with technical assistance to purchase it. After its initial renovation, the congregation operated a day care center for 50 children. In addition, the congregation operates a food pantry, provides utility assistance, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education Programs, conducts a Health Education Program, and operates a Freedom School Program for 100 children using college interns to staff and mentor younger children. Recently, FOSS assisted with the purchase and the development of plans to renovate the building across the street for use as a Wellness and Fitness Center for the neighborhood. Funds will help finance the renovation. FOSS is seeking $370,540 to assist with this project (includes 3% operational expense). The congregation committed $409,000 and FOSS has provided $24,680 professional and technical services at no cost.
It took all kinds of work from all kinds of people to make this great project happen.
First day of work on the Calvary Temple Fitness Center building.
Crews cleaning up as work begins on the Fitness Center.