Over the past 30 years, Partners for Sacred Places has developed a diverse network of partners with a shared interest in historic houses of worship as places with civic value, centers of congregational life, and irreplaceable community assets.
Congregations and Judicatories
The heart and soul of Partners lies with individual faith communities who seek to faithfully steward their historic buildings and maximize their civic value. Individual faith communities and denominational bodies work with Partners to transform their understanding and use of sacred spaces and to rejuvenate their spaces to best serve the needs of their congregations and the communities around them. Partners also assists congregations in developing and implementing successful fundraising strategies to renovate and preserve their buildings.
Partners has worked with over 1,000 faith communities all across the United States, and our partners and clients represent a geographically diverse array of faith traditions and cultures: Mainline Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church in America, Reformed and Orthodox Jewish congregations, Buddhist communities and many more!
Institutions of Higher Education
As a thought-leader in preservation and the civic value of sacred places, Partners collaborates with institutions of higher learning on research into the civic value of sacred places, and in developing a new generation of clergy and lay leaders. Partners works with universities on research projects that increase the knowledge base of faith communities’ civic value and with seminaries to educate clergy and lay leaders on building and financial stewardship.
Arts and Culture and Other Community Organizations
Historic sacred places are essential to the vibrancy of their communities, as they are both works of art and homes for the arts. Due to changes in religious attendance, many sacred places have space that is available for use by the broader community, including kitchens, community centers, education wings, and sanctuaries. Partners has been a pioneer in identifying the potential for sacred spaces, artists, and other not-for-profit organizations to collaborate and develop mutually-beneficial space-sharing relationships that build audiences and furthers the mission of both groups.
The Built Environment
True to its roots, Partners has maintained close ties with organizations and companies that work with the historic built environment, including preservation organizations, architectural firms, engineers and contractors, real estate professionals, and those involved in building trades. From design charrettes with architects to workshops with statewide preservation nonprofits, Partners believes in disseminating and supporting best practices for the care and stewardship of historic religious properties.
Other Stewards of Historic Sacred Places
Given changes in religious attendance across the United States, many historic religious properties are no longer owned by congregations, or used as houses of worship. These sites can still be active centers for community. Partners has worked with a variety of stewards of older religious properties, from not-for-profits, to cemetery associations, to private individuals.