In my recent travels, I’ve come upon several churches that have been repurposed to adapt to changing times and needs. France is full of lovely old churches finding new ways to serve their communities.
Here’s the Sainte Marie Church in Sarlat-La-Caneda that was first built in the 12th century. (Ignore the hunched gremlin in the corner.)
It has served as a weapons factory, a health center, post office and for the last 15 years as a marketplace. It was great fun finding it on a stroll through town and seeing how this huge space is being put to good use, nourishing bodies instead of (non-existent) souls.
In St. Remy, where Van Gogh lived and painted for a while, this little church is being used to display art by modern painters and to announce community events.
In the lovely southern hill town of Gordes, this quaint structure in the center of town looks just like the church it once was, but it is now an art gallery.
And check out this fresco in which a cherub is raising a cup.
Pittsburgh, like many urban and rural areas, is closing a lot of its churches for lack of members. But resourceful people are finding all sorts of new uses for them.
Think for a minute – What creative uses have you seen for abandoned churches?
Use your imagination – What could churches be used for in the future, as the “nones” continue to grow and more people leave organized religion?
>>>Photo Credits: Linda LaScola and Carolyn Klatka Reynolds