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Source: (consider it) Thread: Closing small churches
bib
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There are people where I live who would see many small churches closed and the congregations required to travel from rural areas into large towns and cities if they want to attend church. This doesn't sit well with me and I fear that the good people from the rural areas will just stop coming to church. It feels very discriminatory. After all we do not ask the city churches to close their buildings and all go to small towns for their worship. I'm sure the fiscally minded will push the idea as a cost saving measure, but surely people's faith shouldn't be subject to dollars. In many small towns the church and school are the heart of the community and to lose one or both often leads to the death of that community. I'm interested in what other members feel about this as it is causing a great deal of heartache.

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Brenda Clough
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My brother-in-law is a Lutheran pastor in central Texas. It is farm and ranch country, with small towns quite a long way apart. The churches are too small to support the salary of a full-time pastor. Two Lutheran congregations agreed to split him, so that he does two services every Sunday, about 30 miles apart. The congregations also share things like Vacation Bible School (there not being enough children to fill one by themselves).

I asked him why they did not simply amalgamate, perhaps at a site halfway between the two older churches. He pointed at the churchyard. Each church building is surrounded by a large graveyard. Nobody is willing to abandon Aunt Minnie and Grandpa Bastrop in their graves, and to move them would be impossible. So there is no choice but to go on as they are, and Pastor Jim racks up a lot of miles on his odometer.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Two Lutheran congregations agreed to split him...

Sounds painful.
[Eek!]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Been there. Twice. First time we ended up sharing priest with one other church. Then the diocese threw another one in. That was the death knell for two of them. 20 years later the surviving church got amalgamated with another. Which was different bishop, different era. Sharing minister was The Thing in one era. Amalgamate in the next.

Either way, there is property which can provide income to the remaining church employees. Yes, that is a cynical view.

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Latchkey Kid
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My rural/coastal region has four churches within 30km of each other served by husband and wife pastors on 1.4 salary. They (i.e. the churches) are trying to encourage more of the members to participate in the pastoral work and this is working to some extent so that the churches have not yet had to combine, but as most of the members are at retirement age we will have to see if this is more than stop-gap. The congregations have a combined service every month so that is generating a feeling of being part of a regional congregation as well as a town congregation.

Every fifth Sunday in a month they join with the Anglican churches.

Another denomination has terminated their minister's appointment and are undertaking the services themselves.

I resist going a long way to church as it then seems to me that it feels like attending like a consumer rather than worshipping as part of a community.

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Boogie

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Some Methodist ministers now have four, five, even seven Churches.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I don't think this is entirely an urban/rural thing. In Britain at least many small urban churches and chapels have closed, often two or three close to each other amalgamating on one site. Sometimes this provides a real fresh impetus for growth, as finances and personnel are set free from the burden of keeping buildings going; there can be a real liberation in terms of tradition too. But it must be well managed and, almost inevitably, some folk prefer not to make the transition and end up de-churched.

I don't know what the answer is; around here there are (still) lots of small chapels which are very important to the people who attend. But you can't see them getting involved in strategic new ways of mission; indeed, their very existence may offer a discouraging picture of the Faith.

Having said that, every church that closes represents a loss of the Church in that locality and the opportunity to meet with Christians. It is notable that relatively few Parish Churches close, although he poor clergy have to stretch themselves thinner and thinner, and some churches may only host services infrequently. Partly of course this is because the CofE wants to maintain its historic presence in every community. But such churches are often "owned" and cherished by the local community in ways that Nonconformist chapels are not.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Either way, there is property which can provide income to the remaining church employees. Yes, that is a cynical view.

Of the two denominations which I know well, one is struggling financially because its churches are doing relatively well and it has to pay its Pastors and maintain its buildings.

The other is not doing so well but is financially better-off as it has sold many "redundant" chapels.

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Brenda Clough
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I have a friend who lives in rural New York state. She is a member of a tiny Episcopal congregation. There are eight members total, and she (age 62) is the youngest by at least a decade. They cannot afford a priest; someone comes in once a month or so to administer the Eucharist. The rest of the time it is my friend who is Altar Guild, building manager, churchwarden, accountant, and entertainment chairman. It's running her ragged, and it can't go on. One or two of the ancient ladies passes away, and there simply won't be enough people to sustain it. (The winters are very severe up there and it is a burden for old people to travel a long way in the snow.)

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
There are people where I live who would see many small churches closed and the congregations required to travel from rural areas into large towns and cities if they want to attend church. This doesn't sit well with me and I fear that the good people from the rural areas will just stop coming to church. It feels very discriminatory. After all we do not ask the city churches to close their buildings and all go to small towns for their worship. I'm sure the fiscally minded will push the idea as a cost saving measure, but surely people's faith shouldn't be subject to dollars. In many small towns the church and school are the heart of the community and to lose one or both often leads to the death of that community. I'm interested in what other members feel about this as it is causing a great deal of heartache.

I accept the criticism. It's a big issue in this country particularly in rural areas.

However, I also query whether St Paul or St John, he of the Revelation, (say) would recognise the picture of 'church' that underlies this argument. It's seeing the church of God as rather like the religious version of post offices or doctors' surgeries, an institution whose job and role is to provide religious 'services' to consumers and potential consumers of them. So it's the business of the organisation to provide religion for relatively passive people, who even might claim they are being discriminated against if the institution doesn't give them what they feel they are entitled to expect. It's rather ignoring the more fundamental fact that either they are the church in Xton, Y Springs or Zville, or there isn't any such thing at all.

I also accept that if one were to recognise this, it would require a different ecclesiology from what is currently prevalent.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I often feel that communities treat churches rather like rural rail services. They don't use them, but they don't want them to go as "they might be useful in an emergency". In rail terms it's a case of "We might need the train if we have a hard winter and the roads round the village get blocked", in church terms it's "our daughter (who's probably about 6 years old at the moment) might want to get married there and it will be a shame if she won't be able to".

Of course, apart from sentimental or historical considerations, the inference is that the mysterious "they" will continue to run said church or rail line, irrespective of expense or effort involved.

[ 16. March 2017, 15:36: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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BabyWombat
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Churches seen as train service? -- yes indeed! We must have one in our town. But it goes deeper than the “just in case” argument. In my area of New England we have 5 TEC parishes, each approximately 13 miles from each other -- arrayed in a sort of circle. The earliest dates from 1797, the newest from 1900. All in towns that were once separate industrial/agricultural/business centers. Travel between was horse and carriage.

Now, residents of any of these towns/parishes travel more than that distance to work or to grocery and other major shopping areas. Each parish has a small, elderly, dedicated core group for whom the building is “our parish”, they sit in “my family’s pew,” even if that means they are scattered about an almost empty church, far from each other. As my Senior Warden recently said: “They all sit where their family sat when we filled the place”

Each of these parishes does very, very good ministry in their home town: feeding the hungry, agitating for fair housing, providing support groups to recently released prisoners, running thrift shops that more often give away clothing than charge for it. My current shack gives away homemade cookies and brownies and such at an Interstate rest area, asking for donations so that our parish can in turn give those donations away to non-profits in our town that feed the hungry, cloth the unclothed, and support an active prison ministry.

Each parish limps along with part time clergy, small congregations and declining investment funds. To combine them would make financial sense, but how much of that local ministry would die? The ministry goes on, even with small numbers in expensive buildings. But the gospel is lived out, locally and vibrantly. IMHO merging would make sense in terms of the world, but not of the kingdom.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I often feel that communities treat churches rather like rural rail services. They don't use them, but they don't want them to go as "they might be useful in an emergency".

Or the village shop. They like there to be a shop, and a post office, but they drive ten miles to the big Tesco to shop, because it's much cheaper, and the vegetables are fresher.

Perhaps the question is whether your church community would survive without a building. If you gathered in a hired meeting room, or in someone's home, would people still come, or do they need the building and the formal environment to feel like they're doing church?

The people are the church. If the people live in small communities, then a group of small communities sharing a priest (so everyone gets the priest once a month, say) is not an unreasonable model, and might be a better fit that trying to get everyone to worship together in a central location.

But buildings are expensive. So do you need a building to be a community? They're useful, certainly - as "neutral ground" rather than meeting in someone's home, as a visible presence, as somewhere that visitors and new residents are able to find and feel comfortable visiting (would a visitor to a small town be comfortable going to church in someone's living room?) But if there are so few of you that you're spending all your time and money on a building...?

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SvitlanaV2
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I can't really comment on the situation in other countries, but researchers in the UK have found that church closures tend to reduce the number of churchgoers overall, because not everyone will transfer their membership to a new congregation. Among those who do, apparently their engagement with the new church is likely to be less than it was before. And a empty or converted church building is a stark reminder to passers-by that Christianity as an organised force is weakening.

But for the British Methodist Church (and also the URC, among others) declining numbers and church closure have been two sides of the same coin for so long that it's hard to imagine a totally different approach taking centre stage, despite the commitment to planting alternative kinds of church.

Then there are Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs), which come into being when congregations of different denominations merge. They may be a positive ecumenical witness, but the sad reality is that they normally only occur in situations of decline, and so won't present a dynamic new face to the world unless that's a top priority. There will still be a church building to close, and the congregation that has to move will have to deal with a loss of identity and autonomy. But I suppose it's better than the entire dispersal of a congregation.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
because not everyone will transfer their membership to a new congregation. [..]

Then there are Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs), which come into being when congregations of different denominations merge. [..]

But I suppose it's better than the entire dispersal of a congregation.

That's why I was wondering about the congregation continuing without its building, rather than any kind of merger or dissolution.
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SvitlanaV2
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Some British congregations do go down this route. When my old church considered it, though, they were warned that it can be very difficult.

In the first place, you have to find a school or other well-situated institution that'll let you use its space, and at a time that's suitable for you. In some areas that's not easy.

Moreover, renting a secular space requires more work from church volunteers. Since there's no guarantee that the space will be available on the previous day the volunteers have to be willing to arrive very early on Sundays to prepare everything for worship (and this might include cleaning as well as setting out chairs etc.). But congregations that lack money to maintain their own building are usually also short on manpower, and the workers they have may simply refuse to give more time and effort than they already have.

Alternatively, they might agree to the move and do their best, but I've heard that sometimes, traditional congregations simply can't re-orient themselves to worshipping in what may be a bleak, unappealing setting. The whole situation will certainly represent loss of status for some congregations. In many cases, these difficulties mean numbers and finances may begin to drop after the move. Meanwhile, the rent still has to be paid....

In quite a few cases, then, survival can't be maintained, which means a group will end up facing dispersal in any case, but even more demoralised and with smaller numbers than when they had to lose their building.

The less risky alternative is to rent a space from another church. Newer Christian groups in Britain have often rented space from the traditional churches in recent times, but this doesn't happen so much the other way round. Status must be an issue here. OTOH, some new groups worship for a long time on Sunday so it might not be convenient for others to use their building on the same day.

Meeting in someone's home presents other challenges. Maybe this is what hard-up Baptists do, though, because I've never heard of them renting anything....

[ 16. March 2017, 21:05: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Al Eluia

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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Two Lutheran congregations agreed to split him...

Sounds painful.
[Eek!]

There's Biblical precedent.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Solomon

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Brenda Clough
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I've been to both congregations. (It is a -very- conservative district and my b-i-law hauls me around to services to try and broaden minds. I help by wearing a long black leather coat and fishnet pantyhose.) What is odd is that they are so very similar -- ageing rural congregations, small dilapidated buildings in the middle of the prairie. You would think that it would not be difficult to amalgamate. But no.

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Ethne Alba
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Bib, i feel your pain.
Whilst the very committed might Just commute to church....
The shall-i-or-shall-i-not folk ...just won't.

A local church here closed, apparently everyone was going to commute into a larger church in the city centre.
Did it work?
Well all the keen ones did commute, still do in fact.
All the ones with no transport found matters tough going.
90% of our fringe folk were lost, for why on earth would they ever want to commute into a church building in the town centre? Made no sense.

The old building was left, littered like so much fly-tipping. For years the immediate community was left looking at not one, but two empty churches....the anglicans pulled out five years previously. What on earth does that say to the very many people who live in very difficult circumstances in that area? Don't start me.


For historic or anglican churches, if there is any sort of community around at all, one Can appeal to that wider community on the grounds of baptising, marrying and burial or interring ashes.....and ....on any heritage points. Interestingly many people don't want a church to shut up shop, they just don't necessarily want to attend it.

And even half a dozen very old people Can, if given enough encouragement, kick-start a dying church. There are ways and means.

But if no one will even contemplate change......
Or if the building is miles away from anywhere now, because maybe the housing stock has all moved away, whilst the ancient building remains....

...then it's tricky.
I do hope that you can see a way through this situation Bib.

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Bishops Finger
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Ethne Alba said:

'For historic or anglican churches, if there is any sort of community around at all, one Can appeal to that wider community on the grounds of baptising, marrying and burial or interring ashes.....and ....on any heritage points. Interestingly many people don't want a church to shut up shop, they just don't necessarily want to attend it.'

This is becoming more common in rural UK, where some churches (often, of course, in a multi-church benefice) don't even try to offer weekly services, but are used only on special occasions, or for the Occasional Offices.

And it's not uncommon for such churches to be well cared-for, and open every day. Simon Knott's Norfolk Churches website gives a pretty fair picture of how rural churches are being looked after today, even if there is now virtually no local population:

http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/mainpage.htm

The situation will naturally be different in other countries, particularly where there are vast distances (by UK standards)between churches.

Finally, there is no shame in admitting that, in some cases (whether urban or rural) the fact is that the church has reached the end of its life. That could be construed as 'mission accomplished', rather than defeat!

IJ

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chris stiles
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.. and going off on a slightly different tangent for a moment (that of small churches in urban areas).

I think on the one hand it's great when someone clearly feels a calling to attend and serve in one of these churches, and in generally something more than consumerism should animate our choice of church.

OTOH, I've known people - some immediate family - who out of a possibly misplaced sense of localism end up in situations which have just seemed to sap their energy over a long period of time and who are happier when they finally leave and start attending a church which is better resourced.

Perhaps - linking to the previous post - there's a case for understanding when managed decline is the best policy (assuming a non-toxic congregation).

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Brenda Clough
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And the empty and neglected church building is clearly a municipal issue. Ideally it would be sold or repurposed to house some other useful business or entity. Church buildings are recycled all the time.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

Meeting in someone's home presents other challenges. Maybe this is what hard-up Baptists do, though, because I've never heard of them renting anything....

Our local Baptists rent the village hall for Sunday worship.
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Bishops Finger
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Our local Baptists rent the Community Centre hall for Sunday worship, but this leaves them without much in the way of facilities for extra-mural activities, IYSWIM. They started as an off-shoot of the main town centre Baptist church, and until a few years ago had a little chapel of their own, now demolished.

They do, however, possess a former pub, converted and let out as flats, and AFAIK have retained the use of one room for Bible study/prayer meetings. They have a small but faithful congregation, and their style of worship etc. complements (rather than competes with) Our Place's trad Anglo-Catholic ethos. They admit that they, like us, struggle sometimes to relate to the surrounding 'community', such as it is.

IJ

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
We do not ask the city churches to close their buildings and all go to small towns for their worship. I'm sure the fiscally minded will push the idea as a cost saving measure, but surely people's faith shouldn't be subject to dollars.

Interestingly, in the English case, suburbs and small towns have frequently grown at the expense of cities in recent times. Over the past century many city centre churches have declined or closed as their congregations have moved further away. That may not be the case in your country.

As for people's faith not being subject to dollars, I'm growing ever more convinced that the success of church life today does require a great deal of money. Firstly, denominational structures, whatever they are, usually have to be supported. Secondly, it's expensive to maintain and modernise old buildings and create attractive spaces where the wider community will feel comfortable. And developing a vision for growth, perhaps changing the church's worship style, and developing and implementing evangelistic strategies seem to require investing in costly resources.

Of course, in other times and places a handful of praying labourers in a shed could change the world....

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Bishops Finger
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So is that what we should all do? Go and pray in a shed? Is it not worth spending money on modernising and adapting buildings wherever possible, in order to serve the parish/community better?

Don't forget that many congregations, especially in the C of E are custodians of their buildings, not owners. Simply closing the church, and walking away to the shed, is not always a simple option - and one can only sell the family silver once....

IJ

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Our local Baptists rent the Community Centre hall for Sunday worship, but this leaves them without much in the way of facilities for extra-mural activities.

[...]
They do, however, possess a former pub, converted and let out as flats, and AFAIK have retained the use of one room for Bible study/prayer meetings.

Ah, this represents another option: owning real estate, but not a 'church' - because church buildings are expensive to maintain (and can be hard to make decent money out of, if that's an issue).

This must be an easier decision for congregationalist churches to take. Independence must force them to find new ways of continuing to exist.


quote:
So [should we go] and pray in a shed? Is it not worth spending money on modernising and adapting buildings wherever possible, in order to serve the parish/community better?

I'm not proposing anything here. But it's clear that the historical churches in many cases couldn't reinvent themselves to live without these things. It's not why they were created.

My thinking was just that the Holy Spirit has worked very well in much humbler circumstances than many historical congregations seem willing to entertain for themselves. For many of them, if they're unable to continue to run an expensive church building then they don't want to be a congregation at all.

IMO there's a great deal of ambivalence about church buildings. I've heard the clergy (not CofE) inisst that 'the church is not the building', but they nevertheless reinforce the normativity of church buildings.

With regard to the CofE, I don't think there's much of a sense nowadays of popular ownership of its buildings, but I'm sure this sense varies from place to place.

[ 18. March 2017, 13:56: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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It does vary. You try removing the pews from a rural parish church where most people only attend at Christmas or Easter.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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# 953

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The nice thing about going pewless is that you can cram more people into the service at Christmas or Easter. If they still won't fit you can get packers, like a Japanese subway car.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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BabyWombat
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# 18552

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There is so much memory tied up in a church building -- all those rites of passage that define family for so many and for several generations. Leaving that space is, for many, leaving the memories.

In a former parish I suggested, only half kiddingly, that we rent one of the many empty store fronts on the town square as our worship space, and turn the sanctuary over to a budding arts program. An alternate idea was to turn it over for an in-town gymnasium since the high school gym was 5 miles out of town (the nave had lovely wooden floors for a basketball court and high ceilings). I also thought we might offer the rectory and some funding from our endowment to start a free clinic for those without insurance or income, and offer the parish house and more endowment money as a site for senior meals and activities (large kitchen, we’d even give away the china!).

The small congregation would have fit into any of the storefronts, and been a visible presence. Turning the space into good works felt like living the gospel. But ah, all those memories…… They still cling to the space (admittedly, they share it now with the arts program) and slowly spend down the endowment. And I have moved on.

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Let us, with a gladsome mind…..

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St. Gwladys
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# 14504

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Our parish has temporarily suspended services in one of it's 3 churches.
To give some idea of the problem, the parish is V shaped, with the two daughter churches in the villages in two arms of the V, the parish church is in the town at the base of the V. For various reasons, the services in the daughter churches were alternate weeks and at an earlier time than the parish church. Several people from the parish church begun going to the daughter churches because the earlier time was more convenient for them.
Both daughter churches had small congregations, boosted by the folk from the parish church.
However, the original congregation in one of the two had dropped to around 4, only two of whom live in the village. One of these has poor health and is elderly, the other now works shifts, including Sundays, so there are issues about opening the building.
We are in an interregnum, so can't make any decisions as to whether that church should be closed, but without the support of the village, which has become a dormitory for Cardiff, can it or should it survive?

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"I say - are you a matelot?"
"Careful what you say sir, we're on board ship here"
From "New York Girls", Steeleye Span, Commoners Crown (Voiced by Peter Sellers)

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TonyK

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And, of course, many rural/small town churches are 'listed - that is, have been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

There are strict rules about what may be done with/to such buildings

In my parish we have two churches. The main parish church is Grade 1 Listed - it is an ancient building with some parts from the 1300s. In the mid-2000s it was extensively renovated (£600,000)and we are now working to raise another £66,000 to do essential work on the tower. This is, as you can imagine, a tremendous drain on our resources - cash, time and manpower. Weekly congregation of 80-90.

Our other church (a chapel of ease) was built in the 1850s and is Grade 2 listed. It's rather surplus to requirements now, but unless we can find a buyer who will maintain it (and put up with the surrounding graveyard, which is maintained by the local council, we have little choice but to keep it going. Congregation 15 and diminishing, but it does have a couple on smallish trusts who give us money to do the essential repairs.

Frankly the whole thing is a bit of a nightmare, which keeps us inward-looking far too much!

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Yours aye ... TonyK

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andras
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# 2065

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Decline isn't inevitable. I now attend a church which a year ago had a visible congregation of six.

And yet last Sunday there were fifteen in the pews, the long-neglected organ was in its glory, we'll have the bell back soon, and there was wonderful feeling of Christian joy. Thank God it wasn't closed in its darkest days.

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God's on holiday.
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Adrian Plass

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Somewhere else on SoF I posted a link to an article from the real estate section of the Washington Post. A startling hundred churches were decommissioned in the city last year and turned to other purposes -- community halls, bulldozed and built over, painstakingly converted into condos or restaurants or stores, and so on.

The zoning and historical landmark laws are clearly less flexible in Britain. A pity -- I myself would love to buy a historical church building and convert it into something with new life.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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SvitlanaV2
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Oh, you can easily buy and convert a historical church building here - but probably not CofE. More likely to belong to the Methodists or some other small Nonconformist group.

There are lots of empty or converted chapels in Wales and in the South West of England. My uncle's sister-in-law owns one that's been converted into a holiday home in Cornwall, I think.

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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The Church of Scotland regularly sells surplus property, including churches:
http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about_us/property_and_church_buildings/properties_for_sale

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Gamaliel
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Yes, it is rather more difficult, but not impossible, to decommission Anglican buildings. Some redundant Anglican church buildings are run by The Redundant Churches Trust and are open to visitors a few times a year.

Other than that, old or even historic church/chapel buildings can be up for grabs. There's a former Methodist chapel in a village not far from here which is due for demolition and the ground built on. There's been a bit of a fuss from villagers but it's been deemed to be of little architectural interest or historic value. If it were Australia or the USA it'd probably have a preservation order in it and be a tourist attraction. Here, it's just one of hundreds of early 19th century non-conformist chapels that are no longer needed.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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St. Gwladys
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Just as an aside, the church I mentioned earlier is two terraced houses knocked into one, in the middle of a row of terrace houses. The original church had to be demolished - can't remember if it was a fire or subsidence - and the present church was a betting shop before it was altered. (This is part of the problem - a lot of people still think of it as "the betting shop" rather than "the church").

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"I say - are you a matelot?"
"Careful what you say sir, we're on board ship here"
From "New York Girls", Steeleye Span, Commoners Crown (Voiced by Peter Sellers)

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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There are regularly loads of Anglican (and, come to think of it, almost every other denom imaginable) churches, chapels and other buildings for sale in Wales.

FWIW, it seems like the Church in Wales is rather more willing to bite the bullet and sell off redundant buildings than counterparts in England.

[ 19. March 2017, 15:06: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
FWIW, it seems like the Church in Wales is rather more willing to bite the bullet and sell off redundant buildings than counterparts in England.

Plenty of Chapels disappearing in SW England.
The diocese seems to be unwilling, or unable to sell off rural Churches at this stage. Preferring the redundancy option for historical value. Incredibly expensive way to go with upkeep and so on, it remains to be seen if they can keep this strategy up as more congregations die out.

I'm guessing that, like keeping the Royal Family, someone somewhere has done the maths.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Ethne Alba
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[ TonyK...your situation sounds appalling; prayers wafting skywards ]
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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
The nice thing about going pewless is that you can cram more people into the service at Christmas or Easter. If they still won't fit you can get packers, like a Japanese subway car.

The nice thing about pews is that nobody can cram them closer together. [Biased]
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SvitlanaV2
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The main reason I've heard for removing pews is that it makes a church space more flexible and hence easier to rent out to secular tenants.

This makes far more sense than expecting a full house at Christmas or Easter. I'm afraid that in recent years the Christmas services I've been to have been rather poorly attended.

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