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Why Are There So Many Church Buildings For Sale?

I remember growing up as a Catholic and going to church every Sunday. Every Sunday the priest use to stand on the pulpit and tell the people that the parish needed more money to survive and they needed to contribute more. This wasn’t just one week he would preach this message, this was nearly every week and that was forty years ago. How things have not changed!

Church buildings are for sale all over Australia and it seems like it is happening mostly in rural areas and country towns.The question is ‘Why are there so many Christian buildings up for sale today?’

A lot of the traditional christian churches are struggling financially which has forced the sale of buildings and property. Over the last forty years there has been a steady decrease in the attendance and participation of parishioners. Taking into consideration the overheads, I am guessing that it is not economically viable to run large church buildings for small and dwindling congregations every Sunday.

The dioceses are having difficulty in establishing schools and this is a huge drain on their finances. Administration costs has increased due to involvement in welfare programs.

On the land, the people are still recovering from the Global Financial Crisis and still suffering the ongoing affects of major droughts. The young people are not longer socialized into the fabric of the church and they are no longer attending church and there is your future.

Another looming threat to the church is compensation claims regarding sexual abuse allegations. In the USA, the number of people who are historical victims of abuse is as much as 100,000 and the average payment to victims of abuse is $1,000,000. There are a lot of zeros in those calculations. 75-80 % of all claims are made to the Catholic Church. It is no wonder that more than one diocese has gone bankrupt in the USA.

Religious authorities can apologize for the abuse the church dealt out to the victims but it is a different story when it comes to paying compensation. These are challenging financial times and people want money to establish themselves to the position they may have attained if they had not been damaged by abuse. Therefore, payments are getting larger.

It is sad to lose churches but sadder to lose parishes. When you sell churches, the ramifications are huge. You are not only selling a church building but also losing layers of memory ranging from individual memories to community memories.

There are people who are very close to the church and the foundation of their christian belief is not about the buildings but about Christ. They believe that the riches of the church lie not in the magnificent buildings but in the hearts of the congregation.

Churches are being sold and with that a whole body of architecture is being used for purposes other that what it was originally designed. The Gothic style of church is more of a museum rather than a place of worship and the traditional church building does not fill that need anymore.These churches are being transformed into home and offices, coffee shop, B&Bs, studios and even bachelor pads.

I suppose if you are in the market for a church, now is a good time for a bargain. I have been the advertisements of an online site for church buildings for sale and have found quite a few.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Stephen Reeves May 8, 2016, 11:03 pm

    I listened to a radio broadcast on the issues of Churches being sold off and how this action affected communities. There a quite a few of the churches for sale in the rural areas of NSW and Victoria in Australia. It is these areas that these older buildings are being transformed into homes and offices, coffee shops, B&Bs, studios and even bachelor pads. I think the sort of people who undertake these tasks just love where they live. Thank you for your comment Greg.

  • Greg May 8, 2016, 2:46 pm

    It is a shame that all of these churches have become vacant. The older architecture is phenomenal and historic (needless to say, very well built). But I have found in the Real Estate Investment arena, that the attractive property is the one that can be “flipped’ quick or to be held for positive rental cash flow. Not many are willing to invest and rejuvenate or re-task a piece of property because of its historic value.
    Your blog is fantastic. Keep up the good work!

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