G. Jeffrey MacDonald of The Christian Science Monitor has tapped into a goldmine of a topic: What happens to churches when they must be sold to people who have something other than worship in mind.
MacDonald’s story is longer on theory than on examples of misdirected new uses for church buildings, but he understands what’s at stake emotionally:
So sensitive is the territory that even the most respectable of reuses can stir up hard feelings.
For instance, some years ago in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a Baptist congregation outgrew its building and sold it to buy a new one. But those who remember worshiping inside still haven’t accepted that someone turned their church into a private home, according to Lindsay Jones, a religious architecture scholar at Ohio State University.