Veteran religion-beat pro Richard C. Dujardin at The Providence Journal had a short, but important, story the other day about a church closing that — if what I am hearing is correct — represents a bit of a trend in the hard-hit liberal Protestant economies of the Northeast and Midwest. What we have here is a story that needs a few more facts on the ground and in the pews.
The basic question: Is there an official list somewhere of the Episcopal Church cathedrals that are being closed and/or sold? Does anyone have a website up with folks placing bets attempting to predict which of these lovely sanctuaries will be the first to be turned into condos? A really spectacular bed and breakfast? Here is the opening of this timely report:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John — which began as King’s Church in 1722 and is the Diocese of Rhode Island’s fourth oldest church — is shutting down, with a final service set for April 22.
Parishioners of the cathedral church, the seat of Bishop Geralyn Wolf, learned the news on Sunday from the Right Rev. David Joslin, the cathedral’s interim dean, and Deacon Barbara May-Stock, during the parish’s annual meeting on North Main Street.
Parishioner Marjorie Beach says many were in tears when advised that because of declining numbers of pledging families and the cost of salaries and benefits, the parish could no longer continue — at least for now. The church closed temporarily once before — during the American Revolution.For more, see: