For many congregations, though, their buildings are perceived as a burden, rather than an asset. After several years on the diocesan Congregations Commission, I came to appreciate how pivotal a building can be to a congregation's survival and vitality. Many are faced with huge obstacles posed by deferred maintenance: a roof that needs to be replaced, a parking lot that needs to be resurfaced, tuckpointing to preserve a crumbling facade, foundation or other work to stem flooding, electrical upgrades, plumbing repairs, a new boiler or water heater. The list goes on and on. In every congregation where I have been a leader, both as a layperson and as a priest, there have been major physical plant challenges. As a result, some have argued that we need to get out of our expensive Gothic or Romanesque buildings and relocate to spaces that are more economical and better suited to the kind of work our congregations want to do. They're bleeding us dry, people complain.
|A community meeting on the 1st floor meeting space.|
|Saturday's community breakfast.|