Sunday, February 5, 2012

What can be done with them?

There is a story so typical of the problem in the Episcopal Church today -- a large stone church building, a congregation that left, and an institution seeking space for parking lots and potential new buildings.  So we will see fine, well built, and good liturgical spaces discarded -- too expensive to own or maintain or convert.  One such story is of the Church of the Transfiguration in Cleveland and the voracious appetite of the Cleveland Clinic seeking parking and space for expansion.

What makes this sad is that new church structures are generally built of less quality materials.  So we will be saying good bye to many of them over time.  It seems hardly to be worthy so much the fight being put up by the Episcopal Church to keep them since many of them are being kept only to be sold and torn down.  The congregation that left had been using the structure until the court told them to leave.

It is not that I think so much of buildings (apart from their use) but I look around at the cheap and flimsy structures which congregations can afford to build today and then think of those once grand structures that are being discarded and torn down.  It makes me wish there were some way to move them so that we could use them again.  The Episcopal Church is not the only one with properties they do not need. 


Terry Maher said...

The problem is in what made the building unsustainable, not in what is going on now. Let the Cleveland Clinic have it. They'll do more good with the property than the ECUSA.

Anonymous said...

So which is the monument built in defiance of mortality, the Cleveland Clinic or this church building. Ironic.

Terry Maher said...

Whaddya gonna do when you're sick --I'd day you're way better off going to the world class Cleveland Clinic than going to a pastor and asking him to anoint you with oil and pray, as James says.

And if you're sin-sick, you're way better off someplace other than the ECUSA.

Anonymous said...

I am familiar with the area where this former Episcopal parish is located, now for the most part a business district of Cleveland.

Here's a little local coverage of the issue:

The Euclid Avenue Church of God and the former Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration sit empty on this city's former Millionaires' Row, remnants of a heyday when mansions marched east from downtown.

Their congregations have fled. And historic preservationists fear that both churches will disappear, too, swallowed up by the nearby Cleveland Clinic's appetite for land.

It is interesting how the "historic preservationists" tend to pick buildings that are considered worth saving. Two Catholic parishes I know of, both very beautifully appointed, have been placed on the Historic Register in Cleveland and neither of them are located in what I would call thriving neighborhoods but both still have active parishioners.

There is a small Ango-Catholic parish located in another downtown area of Cleveland, a lovely little church that still uses the historic Anglican liturgy from the old prayer book. I hope they stay and thrive where they are. Their members come from various parts of the greater Cleveland area.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Peters,

Tearing down old, beautiful buildings and replacing them with ugly, "modern" structures consisting of flimsy building materials is the American way. For example, poke around this website to get an idea of St. Louis' former beauty:

Why should church buildings be the exception to the rule?

~Cafeteria Lutheran