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The repurposing of empty churches

One person sitting in a church sanctuary

The Atlantic reports on how churches are finding new uses for buildings they can no longer afford to keep up.

This week’s news carries a report of how a vacant church building in southeast Grand Rapids has been razed to make way for low income housing. READ MORE at “New life in Burton Heights.”

The choices that faced Grand Rapids Metro Ministries are before many congregations across the nation. Jonathan Merritt writes for The Atlantic: “Many of our nation’s churches can no longer afford to maintain their structures—6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America—and that number will likely grow.”

Merritt goes on to report on an organization called “The Missional Wisdom Foundation,” saying: it is a “501c(3) that functions as a kind of think tank for ‘alternative forms of Christian community that makes sense for traditional churches that may be declining.’” 

One of the founders of The Missional Wisdom Foundation is Elaine Heath, who is on the faculty of Duke Divinity School and familiar to those attending the recent REACH Summit sponsored by The Michigan Conference Office of Congregational Vibrancy. She and Larry Duggins, former investment banker, have helped struggling churches find new life.

READ MORE in The Atlantic, “America’s Epidemic of Empty Churches.”