Abandoned churches being transformed into something new isn’t really, well, new.
If I remember correctly, there was a big controversy several years ago when I still lived in Nashville about an old church that was going to be turned into a strip club. I know, big shocker people got upset about that.
But often people aren’t too happy about the apartment transformation either.
After all these are, or at least were, sacred spaces.
In the latest incarnation of ecclesiastical conversions, an abandoned church in Troy, NY is set to become the fraternity house for the local chapter of Phi Gamma Delta.
(Photo by J.S. Carras, Oneida Daily Dispatch)
The 24,000-square-foot location includes the former church, an area under the sanctuary and a former school building. Edelen said the downstairs area under the church would be used as an all-purpose room for dining and social functions. The upstairs section would be for a library, studying, seminars, guest speakers and formal functions.
The former school — once the location of Troy Prep, which is now located in South Troy — is being retrofitted for dormitory space and common areas.
Personally, I don’t see the appeal of having an old church as your fraternity house. It just seems a bit, well odd. But, whatevs. I’m getting to be an old man. I don’t know what the cool kids are into anymore.
Regardless, I think these sorts of transformations raise some really interesting questions about what to do with former places of worship and I’m curious to know what you think should be done with them.
After all, these aren’t just buildings.
They’re sacred space where bread was broken, bodies baptized, marriages consecrated, and souls saved.
Or has that sacredness evaporated now that the congregation of the faithful has departed?
Is this place, in fact, just another building?
If so, why do so many of us get weird feelings when a church becomes a bar or a mall or anything other than what it was intended for?
And if these former places of worship shouldn’t be converted for other uses, what should be done with them? Should they just sit empty and eventually become derelict eyesores? Should they be torn down altogether? Or should they be persevered for some reason?
Honestly, I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m anxious to hear what you think.
Let me know in the comments.