The Rev. Jon M. Richardson took to Facebook looking for some provocative feedback:
So: fun idea that came out of meeting with church staff today (that will probably be the latest in line of things that will get me run out of town on a rail...) --What if - rather than trying to scrape by and earn income from irregularly renting the church out to others - what if we just SOLD the church, rented it one day a week from the new owners, and took the huge infusion of cash to establish a large endowment that would support an increased capacity for ministry???
How do you like THEM apples?
The responses were interesting: people asked about potential buyers, many brought up legal points, some wondered what would prevent the building from being resold, or torn down. And yet, the overall response...was positive (and numerous):
Michael Smith: It's intriguing, I must say.Amanda Katherine Gott: I'm pretty sure there is a congregation in this Diocese (CT) that has done exactly that.
Jack Zamboni: Do you use the building for office, formation and/ or fellowship events during the week? Would the proposed sale limit opportunities to expand other possible ministry in the future? This creative idea may be exactly the right thing to do, but questions like these need to be considered.
Erik G Soldwedel: Jon kudos for offering a provocative thought process and challenging the status quo. Ministry is not mortar and brick. Bravo!!!
Dave Silverstone: I think it's a very clever out-of-the-box idea that would enable a re-focusing on core values and projects. I'm sure there are ways that the parsonage/house space can be made usable for some ministry activities that don't require the whole church building.
Christine Mackey-Mason: Your idea is very provocative and mind-shifting.
Pamela RW Kandt: I think it's a brilliant, relevant idea. More churches could consider doing that.
Daniel Lawson: This just might be brilliant. Especially if you have the buyer lined up.
Deon K. Johnson: Brilliant! Creative! Exactly what so many churches should consider before they get too far down the "we've always done it this way" road. "Let the whole world see and know that things which have been cast down are being raised up..."
31 likes and 39 comments!
Jon was quick to point out that, for his community, this is more "out-of-the-box brainstorming" than reality. And yet, the idea of shedding a building weighing down a church community is something being realized in various places. Here was my response:
Kurt C. Wiesner: What I like about this Jon is that it's not just a "what if we sold the church building because we cannot afford it" conversation: it takes your community's unique situation and relationship with this school, and sees an opportunity. It's not unlike what the St. James in Laconia NH did, selling their building and property to the regional Boys and Girls Club, and with the blessing of Bishop Hirschfeld. They have a new relationship with the Lutheran Church a mile up the street with a newer building. It's definitely worth exploring!The article on what actually happened with St. James can be found in New Hampshire Episcopal News.
So, what are your thoughts?