It’s becoming increasingly apparent to civic leaders across America – including leaders in government, philanthropy, religion and the arts – that many churches and synagogues are shrinking and that their buildings – which provide a home for so much of the social infrastructure our communities depend upon – are suffering from deferred maintenance. Some will be forced to sell their buildings someday, dislocating the child care centers, soup kitchens and homeless programs that have functioned there for years. Some of those buildings may be reused in a way that continues to provide public benefit or community access. However, many others will be gutted or lost to demolition.
These changes represent a slowly unfolding community crisis, especially when some cities and neighborhoods may be losing a critical mass of community-serving sacred places.
However, we have some good news to share: a new resource has been published that presents community-minded options and alternatives that can help you retain the civic value of sacred places even if they change use or ownership.
Transitioning Older and Historic Sacred Places: Community-Minded Approaches for Congregations and Judicatories is being disseminated by Partners for Sacred Places to provide a practical guide for clergy and religious leaders that fills a gap in the resources available to congregations and communities.
This guide begins with a foreword by The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis and includes: Guidance on evaluating viability as it relates to property; a process for discerning what the future could look like; inspiring case studies that cover the range of options available to congregations; and practical advice for congregations that have made the decision to sell property.
We encourage you to share this guide with congregations or local leaders who will find this to be a useful and inspiring resource. Digital and print versions are available at www.sacredplaces.org/transitionguide.
If you are interested in learning more about Partners’ Transition Services, visit sacredplaces.org/consulting/transition-services or contact us at 215-567-3234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.