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Historic Black church in Delaware County reformed and reopened after 27 years

Historic Black church in Delaware County reformed and reopened after 27 years
Historic Black church in Delaware County reformed and reopened after 27 years 02:17

CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – A historic Black church in Delaware County is seeing new life after being destroyed in a fire more than 25 years ago.

This church on Spring Valley Road in Concord Township was once a focal point of the Black community. It's been closed for 27 years, but now its doors are back open.

"It's really, really, really a wonderful thing to happen. Unbelievable," Pandora Anderson said. 

Anderson said she, her daughter and her mom all attended Spring Valley African Methodist Episcopal Church until the family moved to Chester County.

Pandora Anderson

In time, congregation numbers declined and the church became abandoned.

Then, in 1997, it was destroyed in an arson.


"Couldn't believe it. I thought it was gone," Anderson said. "I thought, you know, history was gone from that church."

Concord Township bought the land and spent years trying to find enough money to restore the church.

"I would like to see it as a museum type of building," John Gillespie, the co-vice president of the township council, said. "A museum of some sorts to display some of the African American artifacts and maybe a program with the local school district to bring the children in."


The church has a new parking lot, new windows, refurbished hardwood floors, pews and even a new roof.

The upgrades include a monument to memorialize the eight to 10 people buried in a cemetery next to the church.


"People came from Chester, Media, Kennett Square, Oxford, just to worship at Spring Valley," Anderson said. 

Anderson said seeing the church at the same spot where it's always been, and the cornerstone with the names of the ministers, brings back so many memories.

"Older people and older African Americans in West Chester will remember it and they will come visit it. I mean, because it was a pillar to the community," Anderson said, "And I'm very proud to see it back and standing."

The township will celebrate the reopening of the church with a ribbon cutting on Saturday.

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