3 On Your Side Investigates: God's House Abandoned - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 On Your Side Investigates: God's House Abandoned

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Jackson  Streets are lined with architectural jewels and historical landmarks.

But times have changed and sanctuaries have gone dark

"Approximately 4, 045 properties throughout the city, that are  blighted abandoned and not taken care of," said Commander Jaye Coleman, with JPD's Community Improvement Unit.

Our investigation turned up churches of significance that have been abandoned.

On north state street, for example, a Gothic revival church is abandoned and all of the stained glass windows have been removed. It's overgrown and boarded up. Another one of God's house abandoned."

A look through a keyhole of the church, First Christian Church, reveals a haunting revelation. Asanctuary in shambles and littered with garbage left behind by a dwindling congregation nearly 14 years ago.

The new owners, First Baptist Church considered tearing it down but the plans were abandoned after opposition.

"That it will be restored to it's former glory that has been suggested," said a First Baptist official. "Other than that it is a monument in downtown Jackson for what used to be."

In west Jackson, a grey flagstone was the anchor for a vibrant Catholic membership. St. Mary's Church was erected in 1954. The last time the doors were opened was in March 2015.

Yet another beautiful church and rectory for sale "as is."

Six years ago, we visited a blighted neighborhood and discovered Victory Church on Moss Avenue not just abandoned, but vandalized.

Who was accountable? Ownership was traced to a P.O. Box.

"Even though it's something that looks like it's delapidated, and you can see a vision that you can bring something back to life. That's our goal to bring this church back to life," said former church member, Vickie.

Just three blocks up the street on West Capitol, the Amazing Institutional Church of Christ where boarded up windows are even falling out. You can see the stained glass through there. and it's littered with left over beer bottles.

 It's still an active church but is now monitored by Community Improvement police.

Commander Coleman said, "If you look at the church you can see the cracks crumbling the infrastructure and I think they underestimated the cost of it."

Are tax exempt church owners held to the same standard as other abandoned properties owners?

"If we get enough complaints or anything like that we just have to move forward with doing the work that they can't do," said Commander Coleman.

If the city steps in at taxpayer expense, leins, fines and penalties are assessed.

For a Mississippi landmark, taxpayer money through the Department of Archives and History Grants is available.

 Blogger E.L. Malveney wrote about preservation..saying, "It ain't all moonlight and magnolias."

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