Why Buy a Church?
Adaptive Reuse of Sacred and Religious Buildings
As the result of demographic changes, fewer priests and parish finances, the Diocese of Cleveland is reconfiguring parishes. 50 of 224 are being closed between during 2009 and 2010. The city of Cleveland has lost 60% of its population since 1950 and is the most significant example of demographic change in the diocese.
The parish properties being closed will be sold so that they can be repurposed to continue serving their neighborhoods, the cities and the region. Good stewardship over these assets calls for this and for sales proceeds to be reinvested in the parishes that continue to operate in the adjoining neighborhoods. At the closing Mass, a parish church building is “de-sanctified,” relegating it for profane or common use. The church building will be sold with a deed restriction to preclude certain sordid uses while it is still standing. Such restrictions do not typically apply to any schools, rectories or convents.
There can be many uses for these unique and special properties. Often they are purchased by other growing church communities, taking advantage of a larger property that was built in ways that can not be reasonably or affordably duplicated today. But they do not need to remain as churches. There is a significant body of literature on the adaptive reuse of churches that is readily available by searching the internet for “adaptive reuse of churches.” 29,000-plus hits later, it is clear that the adaptive reuse of churches and related buildings is only limited by the creativity of the buyer.
Locally we have a number of examples of adaptive reuse:
- First Church of Christ, Scientist, 2200 Overlook Road, Cleveland is now the offices, studios and laboratories for a creative and leading industrial design firm.
- St. Josaphat Parish, 1433 East 33rd Street, Cleveland is now an art gallery in the church and artist studios in other buildings.
- First English Lutheran Church, Derbyshire & Euclid Hts. Blvd, Cleveland Heights, is now the Brownstones of Derbyshire. The church building contains 5 condo units and another 15 row houses are on the grounds to complement the stone of the church. Architectural features were preserved within the church units.
- St. Jude Parish, 4761 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights is now the site of an office park bringing jobs to that community. While preservation is a plus for classic Cleveland properties, these 1960 style buildings were demolished.
- One parish is being considered for senior independent living units in the school, convent and rectory. The beautiful, small church will be the community center.
Again, the primary consideration will be adaptive reuse for the best benefit of the neighborhood, working with creative buyers who have the ability to appreciate, repurpose, and maintain these special buildings. Preservation will often be a plus so that former parishioners will look back and see that their property has new life with a good buyer and a worthy use.
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Fact Sheet
17th Largest Diocese in the United States.
April 23, 1847.
Eight (8) Counties including Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Summit (Akron), Lorain (Lorain-Elyria), Lake (Painesville), Geauga (Chardon), Medina (Medina), Wayne (Wooster) and Ashland (Ashland)…3,414 square Miles.
744,000 Catholics or 27% of total 8 county population.
174, after the June 30, 2010 completion of parish consolidation.
CLERGY AND RELIGIOUS
- 257 active Diocesan priests
- 96 retired priests
- 32 Extern and Special Assignment priests
- 119 religious order Priests
- 53 Brothers
- 1,109 Women Religious
- 204 Permanent Deacons
- 263 Certified Pastoral Ministers
EL SALVADOR MISSION
Served by four (3) Diocesan Priests and four (4) Sisters and Two (2) lay persons in four (4) parishes. The mission established in 1964.
112 Elementary (35,147 enrolled), 22 Secondary (13,804 enrolled).
69 Pre-schools (2,852 enrolled), 14 Head Start (1,305 enrolled).
Catholic Charities of Cleveland—the largest diocesan system of social services in the world. Annually serves 299,861 people (all denominations)…2.8 million meals. .65,366 nights of shelter.
The Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland.
Installed as 10th Bishop of Cleveland on May 15, 2006. Ordained
to the priesthood, May 19, 1973. Birth date- March 26, 1947 in Arlington, Massachusetts.
The Most Rev. Roger W. Gries, O.S.B., consecrated as Aux. Bishop of Cleveland on June 7, 2001.
The Most Rev. Anthony M. Pilla, consecrated as Bishop of Cleveland on January 6, 1981.
Most Rev. A. James Quinn, J.C.D. J.D. V.G, consecrated Aux. Bishop of Cleveland on Dec, 5, 1983.
Most Rev. Edward Pevec, Ph.D., V.G, consecrated Aux. Bishop of Cleveland on July 2, 1982.
St. John the Evangelist, 1007 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Established 1848. Capacity 1200.
The Diocese Communications Office 1-216-696-6525 ext. 4460