Congregational Seasons, a blog that tells stories of renewal and revitalization in Episcopal congregations recently published this guest blog, “Recasting Your Church’s Building Assets for Congregational Viability” by Bob Jaeger, President of Partners for Sacred Spaces, http://www.sacredplaces.org/, an organization that helps congregations utilize their buildings as an asset to the broader community. It’s all about using your building’s gifts, such as good acoustics, a well-equipped kitchen, or a shareable fellowship hall, as a way to bring blessing to the community around the church. In turn, that brings blessings to the church, such as fresh engagement with new people.
Here’s an excerpt showing two examples, one from an urban setting, and one from a rural setting:
“In an urban setting, St. Martin’s, a mission church in Chicago, would face closing without new ways to raise funds and use space effectively. The parish took part in New Dollars [a program of partners for sacred spaces], which helped parishioners organize, map out priorities and space uses and think more about their mission and purpose – within the diocese and the context of a struggling west side neighborhood. The church is hosting more arts and music activities now, and is thinking about how it can take better advantage of its position on a charming plaza, complete with fountain, in front of the church. Thanks to Partner’s encouragement, the parish is placing a church table in the plaza for a community block party this summer, to bring visibility and new visitors to the church.
“Recognizing that many rural churches are small and could close without help, the Diocese of Vermont retained Partners to offer New Dollars training to several parishes, among them the Church of Our Saviour in Kilington. The church learned how to map its internal assets, as well as assets in the larger community. Recognizing its super acoustics, the parish is now hosting concerts sponsored by the local library when the weather is inclement. Given its location in the countryside, it worked with the town government on a scenic byways initiative, bringing more visitors to the church. These steps have brought new energy and visibility to the parish and have attracted new funding that has underwritten the replacement of the parish house roof.”
Food for thought and prayer…