How does your congregation share its space with the community?

By Contributor Elizabeth Terry

Due to shrinking congregation size and other pressing issues, places of worship around the country currently have underutilized buildings and grounds and diminishing financial resources. One emerging strategy is to encourage congregations to explore sharing their facilities.

Two institutions with missions and resources to assist congregations to re-imagine their facilities as vibrant shared spaces are Partners for Sacred Places with their new initiative Arts in Sacred Places and The Rooftops Project of New York Law School.

The Rooftops Project has published several reports and essays concerning leases and shared space agreements. They also convene an annual conference for nonprofits, including congregations, helping them to become more knowledgeable about their options and opportunities for sharing their space with other nonprofits.

Inis Nua Theatre Company's production of Dublin by Lamplight, staged at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA. Photo courtesy of Sacred Places.

Partners for Sacred Places’ new national initiative, Arts in Sacred Places, will foster collaborations and partnerships between congregations and arts and cultural organizations. The program is focused on space availability and usability as well as audiences for the arts organizations and community supporters and new potential members for the sacred places. Programs and services will include training, consulting, technical assistance, and “match-making” or helping match a congregation with an arts group that’s right for their space.  Click here for stories of the program’s success so far.

How is your congregation sharing your sacred place of worship with your community?

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