The Danbury Community Church is bringing big money to the small town of Danbury, announcing this week that they have received a $168,000 grant from the Duke Endowment Fund to help fund construction and renovation of their fellowship hall.
The unique church first officially opened its doors on July 22, 1984, becoming the first church in the country to combine the Presbyterian and Methodist faiths under one roof.
The congregation actually shares two churches, rotating their meetings between the buildings depending on weather and needs.
Church member Steve Shelton said a furnace failure had focused their efforts on renovations of the former Methodist church, a brick structure located in the heart of Danbury.
“We are so very blessed and thankful to have received news of The Duke Endowment grant. The congregation will now be able to complete renovations at 617 Main Street, Danbury. This provides meeting space, a kitchen, and fellowship area that we’re proud to offer to our community for outreach programs and events,” said Rev. Ruth Lenger, a Presbyterian who serves as the current pastor.
She said she hopes the expanded space will allow the church to make space available for community projects, meetings and gatherings.
“In addition to expanding our own outreach, such as health screening, tutoring, feeding, community programs, musical and artistic events, fund raisers, etc., DCC wishes to make the space available to those groups who cannot afford to pay for such gathering space,” she said. “God has blessed us. The Duke Endowment has affirmed our mission, and we seek ways to show our gratitude. We believe our mission statement encourages all to join us in the work of the kingdom right here in Danbury: ‘To share the love of Christ, we seek to welcome, accept and nurture each human being as a valuable part of our lives and God’s creation.’”
Robb Webb, director of The Duke Endowment’s Rural Church program area, said he was happy the fund could help the church further its mission.
“We were delighted to work with a church that is so committed to being engaged in the community,” he said. “The new fellowship hall will provide much-needed gathering space for the congregation to continue this important outreach.”
Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.
Danbury Community Church meets at 9:30 every Sunday morning. All are welcome. To learn more about Danbury Community Church, contact Reverend Ruth Lenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 336-802-6958.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.