Archived Blog Posts

SAVE THE DATE for Our Silver Anniversary! | Posted August 1, 2017


Friends of Sacred Structures will observe 25 years of service to the greater Kansas City community with a dinner at Second Presbyterian Church, 55th & Oak, on Tuesday, September 12. Featured speaker will be Bill Tammeus, well known journalist and author, while the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of Calvary Temple Baptist Church and noted singer-songwriter, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. A catered dinner in Westminster Hall will follow a 5:30 hospitality hour on the patio.

Highlighting its many years of volunteer architects, engineers and other members offering a variety of skills, FOSS has assisted more than 150 churches with advice for keeping their buildings up to code, thereby allowing them to serve as community centers. In addition to on-site visits by Technical Services Team members, seminars have been held to offer advice to church members for fundraising and for choosing dependable, reasonable companies to complete needed repairs and improvements.

An added option for outreach is the recent establishment of the Elmer Denis Memorial Fund that allows FOSS to offer financial assistance to congregations currently involved in upgrading their facilities. Preserving existing structures is a priority, and FOSS formed many years ago as an outgrowth of Historic Kansas City Foundation when a group of concerned members joined to save White Oak Chapel in the northland, the first African-American church built on land donated by former slave owners.

A 501(c)(3) organization, FOSS continues its efforts to focus on established, existing churches that offer a multitude of programs such as food kitchens, daycare and mentoring. The FOSS Mission Statement, “Friends of Sacred Structures is dedicated to the preservation and renovation of religious structures, especially those that support vital neighborhood needs,” reflects these goals. Our longevity is a testament to our continuing commitment to responding to requests for assistance free of charge.

FOSS invites you to help preserve the beauty and history of Kansas City by assisting congregations with limited funds continue to be present as safe and attractive local resources. To register, please call 913-831-4752 x 121.

Individual tickets: $50
Tables of 8: $350
Sponsors: $500

We hope to see you there!


New Grant Fund Benefits KC Churches | Posted May 9, 2016


When Friends of Sacred structures, an outgrowth of Historic Kansas City Foundation, became an independent entity by incorporating in 1992, Elmer Denis was among the first to become involved in its formative years. His vision, enthusiasm and energy inspired many to serve and impressed those who benefited.


With his engineering background, Elmer took the reins of the Tech Services Team, providing evaluations and assistance to churches, mostly in the urban core, whose aging structures were limiting their ability to remain neighborhood centers, both for worship and many vital social service programs. For over twenty years, Elmer was the most visible representative of FOSS, visiting sites and keeping voluminous records regarding needs and recommendations for their facilities. Composed of volunteer architects and engineers, Tech Services has offered information and guidance not otherwise available to hundreds of religious communities with financial needs.

Elmer’s passing in late 2014 inspired a former board member to provide seed money for a memorial fund in Elmer’s name, with the funds designated to assist congregations working to address maintenance and repairs necessary to keep their buildings up to code. The first grant was made in December 2015 to Grace United Community Ministries, and the second grant was made in early 2016 to Stranger’s Rest Baptist Church. Grace United is using their funding to help cover the costs of some needed sanctuary repairs, stained glass window covers, and electrical system upgrades as detailed below.  Stranger’s Rest Baptist Church will use their grant award to help pay for the replacement heater and A/C unit they needed for their church buildings. FOSS is currently seeking contributions for this fund so the organization can continue to offer monetary assistance to qualifying projects.  Grant applications are also available here.

Donors wishing to help continue the mission may click the Donate Now button to give online, or email or call to make a donation today to help churches directly in Elmer’s honor, or 913-831-4752 ext 102. As a 501 (c)(3) organization, FOSS will provide a tax receipt, and accounting of dispensation of funds will be made available to all donors.


Buy this beautiful book and support FOSS! | Posted October 29, 2014


A huge thanks to Bruce Mathews for generously donating a portion of the proceeds from his gorgeous new book to support FOSS!


Windows of Kansas City: As Art, History and Inspiration showcases unique and masterful works of art. The art is stained glass windows found in churches, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and homes in Kansas City and communities within an hour’s drive.  While the book features stunning photographs of the windows, it goes beyond to consider the stories behind them – who created them, to whom they were dedicated and the history of the buildings in which they are located.

Windows of Kansas City explores the qualities unattainable in any other medium. “The interplay of sunlight and glass magically changes with each cloud and ray of light. Depending upon the time of day, art glass windows reflect an enchanting variety of colors that enhance any building’s interior.” – Shirley Bush Helzberg

Words & Photos by Bruce Mathews – Foreword by Shirley Bush Helzberg

Hard Cover – Color – 11” x 9” – 224 pages – $27.95

A portion of the proceeds benefits FOSS – Friends of Sacred Structures

Kansas City Star Books   –   To buy your copy or for more information:


FOSS Presents to the Troost Alliance | Posted July 26, 2013


Joanie Shields, FOSS Board Member, gave a presentation to the Troost Alliance on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 and they did an excellent article about the great work that FOSS has been doing in Kansas City over the last twenty years. Thanks, Joanie and Troost Alliance! Click here to read the article!


Calvary Community Outreach Network | Posted July 23, 2012


This is the 501(c)3 not for profit arm of Calvary Temple Baptist Church located at 30th and Holmes in Kansas City, Missouri.  The church building was vacant in 1997 when FOSS provided the pastor with technical assistance to purchase it.  After its initial renovation, the congregation operated a day care center for 50 children. In addition, the congregation operates a food pantry, provides utility assistance, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education Programs, conducts a Health Education Program, and operates a Freedom School Program for 100 children using college interns to staff and mentor younger children.  Recently, FOSS assisted with the purchase and the development of plans to renovate the building across the street for use as a Wellness and Fitness Center for the neighborhood.  Funds will help finance the renovation.  FOSS is seeking $370,540 to assist with this project (includes 3% operational expense).  The congregation committed $409,000 and FOSS has provided $24,680 professional and technical services at no cost.


Supporting Kansas City Neighborhoods | Posted February 11, 2012

White Oak before Renovation.jpg

Friends of Sacred Structures (FOSS) is dedicated to the preservation and renovation of religious structures, especially those that support vital neighborhood needs. FOSS helps organizations restore their structures to better provide stability and hope to children and families in Kansas City’s urban core and beyond.

The first major project FOSS helped complete was the White Oak Chapel. Built in 1912 by the descendants of slaves, the post-Civil War Chapel was scheduled for demolition. The FOSS team collaborated to move and preserve the sacred structure.

Evan BoltonComment