Worshippers at Union Baptist Church 157 years ago would still recognize it today.
"One of the things that makes this church unique is its gothic-style carpentry, which is rare in Augusta," said Tennent Houston, the chairman of the Union Baptist Church Renovation Committee. "Even with the renovations, the sanctuary is almost unchanged from when it was first built."
The Greene Street congregation, the committee and Historic Augusta Inc. have raised $500,000 over the past several years to renovate the church and its parsonage, said Mr. Houston, who is also the president of the Historic Augusta board of trustees.
The renovations have taken time, but they are almost complete.
"It's been a slow process, but a worthwhile one," Mr. Houston said. "It's very satisfying to see this fine structure preserved."
The church's roof has been replaced, the wood siding and the seating repaired. Central heat and air and a handicap ramp have been installed, and the stained-glass windows are being replaced.
"The church has agreed to make the sanctuary available to the public for suitable events," Mr. Houston said.
It will be the site for two Westobou Festival events Sept. 18-27.
Recently, work has begun on the parsonage, which will be rented as an apartment. The money received from the rent will go toward helping with the church's utilities and basic maintenance, Mr. Houston said.
"We are doing all we can to make sure that the community will be able to enjoy this historic church for another 150 years or more," he said.