SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A historic sanctuary is now back open after months of renovation.
The First African Baptist Church celebrated the re-opening on Thursday. The church is located on Franklin Square in Downtown Savannah.
Church leaders say it's the oldest continuous black church in North America and a registered National Historic Landmark. The renovation and restoration project was planned to preserve the church.
That history started with the church's builders. A group of slaves granted permission to build at night.
Reverend Thurmond Neill Tillman says their faith continues to be at the forefront today.
"They began to make those sacrifices, so down through the years, we continue to talk freedom, we continue to talk about justice for all, we continue to do what we can to help the least, the last, and the lost,” Rev. Tillman said.
The project kept in place many of the historical elements in the church. That includes the light fixtures, the baptism pool, the balcony pews, and the pipe organ.
The reverend said a fresh coat of paint and some upgraded safety features means the public will get to keep visiting the church.