Washington church gets facelift

Published 2:46 am Monday, October 4, 2010

NATCHEZ — For almost 200 years, Washington United Methodist Church has made its mark in Natchez, and recently that age has started to show.

The time-stained brick building that houses WUMC worshipers was built in 1828, and finally needed some repairing.

President of the board of trustees for WUMC Mike McGehee said the age of the building is what led to the masonry and brickwork repairs.

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McGehee said some of the masonry is crumbling and it is going to need repointing to be fixed.

McGehee said the crew is on the third week of the project, and that it shouldn’t take much longer to finish.

“The whole project should take around four weeks to finish,” he said. “We just finished the front part of the job the other day, and we started on the back wall of the church.”

WUMC member and Natchez resident Robert Anderson said the crown on the building was the first thing repaired.

“It was in awful bad shape,” he said. “Bricks were beginning to fall off and had to be replaced.”

McGehee said the substance the crew repairing the damage used to repoint the bricks was a combination used for laying bricks in the 1800s.

“They use the same materials because they lay the bricks the same way they did when it was built,” he said.

McGehee also said the church will be replacing windows.

WUMC Pastor Reed McCaleb said the congregation has seen a need for repairs on the church for a while now.

“We want to keep the brick work up,” he said. “The church has been standing for over 150 years, and we want it to stand for another 100 more.”

McCaleb said the congregation for WUMC is the oldest in the state and church members are very proud of that fact.

“They are looking forward to getting their hands dirty and fixing the church,” he said.

Anderson said helping out his church is just his way of giving back.

“I’m just a member of the church,” he said. “But I help out in any way I can.”

McCaleb said keeping the historic church repaired helps the church show people that the congregation cares.

“It is very important we represent not only ourselves, but the community of Natchez,” he said. “Having a church that stands out on the hill when you come into Natchez could bring people in to visit us and see what we do as a church.”