(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) For Brittany Boggess, the First Baptist Mt. Union Church at 4604 King Hill Ave has always held a special place.
"[It] was the church that I was born and raised in," Boggess said. "I was blessed in that church, and I was baptized in that church."
Boggess and her family are just some of the many who've made up its congregation over its more than 100-year history.
The church's impact was left heavily in the black community, but for the past several years it's sat abandoned.
Boggess, an aspiring social worker, said it's always been her dream to open and run an outreach center. When she thought of her old church she saw a great opportunity to improve the community's future while celebrating its past.
"I felt that it was God's way of telling me this is how you're going to give back to your community," Boggess said.
Word of Boggess' story has spread fast and she received lots of local support, most notably St. Joseph's Landmark Commission who've officially named it a historic landmark.
Historic preservation planner Kim Schutte said the designation is about recognizing the impact of black people and black culture in St. Joseph.
"It is kind of in a sense the mother church," Schutte said. "Other African-American churches were off-shoots of this one so it's really the heart of that community."
Schutte and Boggess hope the impact of the church continues in the new role.
"Saving this building is a step toward recognizing the history of that community," Schutte said.
Boggess hopes to have the outreach center open in the next two years. Those interested in donating to her cause can reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.