NORTH CAROLINA – Rev. Dr. Arnetta Beverly grew up in St. Stephen United Methodist Church, one of many family members to do so.

She's also the first female pastor of the church, the oldest African-American church in Lexington.

In addition to her Sunday sermons, Beverly used quarantine to finish up some projects restoring and preserving parts of the historic church.

“It means a lot because this is where my foremothers and fathers sat in the balcony, and now would you believe the daughter, a great, great, great, great granddaughter of slaves is now the pastor here?” Beverly said.

She says freed slaves bought the church in the late 1800s.

Now, it houses more than just the sanctuary. Open Hands also uses the space. It's an organization that provides food and resources to people in need, like those experiencing homelessness.

“By being able to partner with them and having the facility, that’s just been phenomenal for us to work with, it’s been good, and working with Arnetta, working with the other people in the congregation it's just been a natural fit,” Bob Harmon of Open Hands said.

Beverly says she's preserving the past for the future, so the church is ready when people fill it again.