The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Faculty Associate in Religious Leadership at Hartford Seminary, has written a blog about the philanthropic opportunities around adaptive reuse of religious buildings.
Religious buildings, often at the center of communities, are in danger. Deferred and expensive maintenance along with membership decline has put them in a precarious position. Economic disparity and gentrification in major cities are common threats to congregational membership and overall justice work.
However, like malls that have disappeared into boutique or online shopping, or banks that no longer need tellers, religious buildings are ripe for adaptive reuses.
In this complex crisis for religious institutions, there is an extraordinary philanthropic opportunity. Grantmakers would be wise to see the asset in the crisis of buildings going out of business, city by city. Imagine a town or city without an anchoring building on every corner – and then see the opportunities in adaptive reuses.