Surplus Churches

One of the sad parts of this trip has been seeing church buildings converted to restaurants, hair salons, homes, and even tourist information centers.  The Church of Scotland has a category for these properties: surplus church buildings. 

One of the issues involves the cost of maintaining very old buildings by diminished congregations.  The church in Aberfeldy has been condemned; it is unsafe to meet in and will need either a huge infusion of money for repairs or to be sold.  Certainly demographic shifts have contributed to the problem. 

At one time the church used to be central to the community it served — its pulse and circulatory system.  Now, tourism seems to be the pump that keeps the community humming.  A rich tapestry of soul connections has been exchanged for economic threads.

The issue is complex and cannot be reduced to three paragraphs with a concluding solution. 

I long to see our churches full of vibrant Christians with a robust faith, churches that faithfully preach the Word of God, churches that effectively serve their communities.  Lord, have mercy.

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