BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — The only church on Church Street in Bastrop is in need of some love. Bastrop Christian Church has stood for 127 years since its construction in 1895.
“I can’t just let that go,” said longtime churchgoer Jerry Davenport. “This whole building go to waste — that would almost be a sin.”
He is one of several who is volunteering to repair the historic building.
From afar, the outside white wooden building lights up the street but up close a look at time’s scars.
“That spot is one of our worst spots,” Davenport said pointing to an area at the corner of the building. “All the rot is behind it and the foundation, part of it is rotting so that’s what we need to really get repaired.”
Inside the church, deteriorating and cracked stained-glass windows line the building.
“These are the original stained-glass windows,” explained Jennifer Winfrey Leisure. “A lot of the stained-glass windows that you see have pictures of Jesus or Bible verses, but for this time period, these are so unique with just the simplicity.”
Three years ago, in 2019, the church decided it was time to replace the roof.
“We had leaks over there,” said Winfrey Leisure, pointing to the back wall. “That whole wall had leaked so we realized, you know, we have to deal with the roof. It was time.”
However, that was just the beginning. The congregation knew the historic building needed additional work.
They never imagined just how much.
“We hired a preservation architect company out of Austin,” Leisure explained.
The report estimates it would cost $700,000 to complete structural repairs and restore the east side stained-glass windows. But, it’s a price tag the church cannot afford.
“We just put it in God’s hands and know that it will get done,” Vicki Benson said.
For now, they’re doing what they can while in seek of a helping hand.
“It’s really an iconic little church, and we desperately need help to save it from deterioration,” Leisure said.
Bastrop Christian Church members started the Building Preservation Committee in hopes of getting help from the community and started a GoFundMe. As of 7 a.m. Wednesday $2,625 had been raised.
Church leaders said the historic building is more than just a church. It’s a piece of Bastrop and Central Texas history and referred to the time Willie Nelson performed Amazing Grace in the church for the 2013 movie When Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr.
“I just hope that we have this back in good working order,” Davenport said. “In the next, hopefully, next year or two, we’ll have this all fixed up and good for another 125 years.”