There's a new era of reconstruction going on throughout the South. Many of the 75 black churches burned since 1995 are being repaired or rebuilt with $11 million in cash and in-kind contributions from various groups across the country, led by the Burned Churches Fund of the National Council of Churches. The fund has garnered $9 million, which includes contributions from ELCA congregations.
So far the NCC has approved plans and made grants of $1.5 million to 17 congregations. Site visits to determine damage and plan reconstruction continue. Gaylord Thomas of the ELCA Division for Church in Society leads an NCC assessment team, his service part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's support. "We sit with the pastors [of the burned churches] and talk about how to allocate the money. We promote the use of local resources--architects and contractors," he said.
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