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The trust received $65,000 in the Otago Community Trust's latest round of community grants, which will be put towards phase one of its $1.1million restoration project.
Church trustee Derrick Railton said the trust was "delighted" to receive the funding, as it was a "vote of confidence" from the community trust.
He believed it would "certainly help our case" when applying for funding from the Lottery environment and heritage fund.
But first, the trust had to raise the "local share of funding", which was about $150,000.
"Lotteries will fund up to two-thirds of a project but you have to raise the one-third before you apply.
"All the effort has been going into that."
The trust had also received funding from other sources, so was "well on the way to making progress" but "still not there yet", Mr Railton said.
The full restoration would include repairing the roof, front tower, walls, windows, doors, internal linings and the stone wall.
Exterior ground work was also needed.
The 151-year-old church has a Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga category 2 listing and is considered the oldest continually used Presbyterian church of its type in the South Island.
The trust celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special service and community afternoon tea in May.
"We had a lovely celebration.
"We marked that occasion well and now all our attention is on the renovations of the church."
He expected to hear the outcome of the Lottery application in November.