I got a LOT of interest in a recent post about whether or not congregations should consider selling their buildings. I think this is an issue under the surface that church leaders are considering, but reluctant to talk about with their congregations. Here’s some information about a couple organizations that are thinking creatively about church properties:
Partners for Sacred Places is a non-profit organization that helps congregations team up with their communities to find new uses for their buildings. Here’s a story about a church in Fort Worth that has become the new home for an eye clinic for the poor.
Sacred Places has also developed a system for assessing the economic value of churches to their communities. This was originally done for Catholic dioceses when they had to decide which churches to close in consolidations. Sacred Places actually helped them figure out which churches were generating the most social and economic benefit in their neighborhoods. (Think Robert Putnam’s “social capital” from his book “Bowling Alone“, only with dollar values attached).
Here’s a story about what they learned in a community called Covington.
And here’s something wierdly fascinating! www.churchshare.net offers its customers…
“a turnkey church rental package. You can literally move in tomorrow! Not only can you afford it, but you’ll be occupying a real church with room to grow and prosper.”
This Florida business offers church buildings to congregations who want to rent and are willing to share space with other congregations. Large scale campuses; retreat space; you can even rent the “Water Chapel” pictured above for that special immersion baptism you are planning (no anchors, you anchorites!).
If you are interested in reading more about what’s happening with church buildings and closures, check out Episcopal blogger Joe Duggans’ website and accompanying Facebook page Congregational Seasons. I have him to thank for many of the stories I’ve found.
Tell me what you think of these options!